Moved to DavidWMullen.com

This is my old blog address, which changed over a year ago. Please head over to Communications Catalyst to read my latest takes on integrated communications, public relations and social media.

See you there!

New Book on Marketing in the Social Media Era Also Supports Susan G. Komen

connect-cover

It’s not every day you get to do something selfish and selfless at the same time, but today is your lucky day.

The selfish part – A new book on marketing in the social media era is available to help you navigate your way through the amazing opportunities and interesting challenges marketers face in today’s Web-powered world.

The selfless part – Every penny of the book’s profits will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure to support its dedication to education and research about the causes, treatment and search for a cure of breast cancer.

One of the most interesting things to me about Connect! Marketing in the Social Media Era is that it’s a collaborative project. One hundred marketers representing every discipline within the marketing mix each contributed a 400-word chapter for the book. People like Ann Handley from MarketingProfs, Adam Broitman from Crayon, Brian Morrissey from Adweek and David Mullen from Mullen. (Hey, that’s me!)

Okay, I’ll step out of the way so you can skip on over and buy a copy. While you’re at it, buy a few and give each person on your team a copy. You can justify it. Not only will it help them all get even smarter than they already are, but you also are supporting a great cause.

But first, can I ask a favor? Please share this post within your social networks – Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, etc. – and help us spread the word about the book. There are several buttons below to make that as easy for you as possible. Our goal is to raise $5,000 for Komen and we need your help to get there. Thanks!

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Employees Using Social Media Can Give Companies a Nasty Virus

virus

A couple weeks ago, a virus had its way with my family. Within a four-day span, all four of us were incredibly sick for 24 hours at a time and it seemed there was nothing we could do to stop the next person from getting it.

That’s because despite how careful we were – quarantining the sick one to a bedroom, dispensing large bottles of hand sanitizer, etc. – it’s impossible to be fully conscious of every single time your hand touches something else in the house. For example, we each hold the handrail when coming down the stairs by habit without even giving it a thought.

It’s not much different for companies that have employees who are active in the social media space. And, honestly, what company doesn’t have at least one employee with a Facebook page or Twitter account?

Social media is like a rabbit hole and it’s easy for employees to either not be fully conscious of all the places they touch or forget that Google can find just about anything. A rude comment on a blog post here. A disparaging Tweet about a client’s home city there. Posting unapproved client work to her online portfolio because she really liked the concept, even though the client picked a different direction.

They can seem harmless enough at the time, but each of these can have a negative impact on your business and strain client relationships. That’s why all companies should have guidelines for employees that outlines what’s acceptable in social media participation and what’s not.

This isn’t to keep them out of social media networks because these tools can bring a lot of good to your organization. But the guidelines remind employees that their online actions can have consequences for both the company and them, and it gives them guardrails to help keep them from mistakenly going off track.

Does your company have these guidelines in place? If so, do you feel they’ve been helpful in better protecting the brand? Should companies have any “say” in what employees do online with personal accounts?

(Image by Fred Armitage.)

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4 Easy Steps to Better PR Measurement

chuckhemann-003 This is a guest post by Chuck Hemann.

What do you think when you hear the word “measurement?” What about “evaluation?” If you are planning to roll your eyes or let out a heavy sigh don’t. While measurement and evaluation are concepts that don’t always come naturally to public relations professionals, knowing how to talk about them (and ultimately implement them) is critical to your success.

So if measurement and evaluation are so critical, why aren’t more plans building in measurement and evaluation programs? My feeling is that we haven’t seen more widespread adoption because we have not spent time educating account executives on how to do it. When they do hear about measurement, it’s usually advertising value equivalencies (AVE) and impressions.

So, how can we help make it more approachable? Here are four tips to help you get started down the road to better measurement:

1.    Take considerable time setting MEASURABLE goals and objectives. It’s amazing to me how many companies jump into a program without ever considering what they are planning to accomplish by spending the money. Ask your clients what they want to get out of the efforts. If the answer is “We want to improve our communications,” help them narrow that down to something measurable like “We want to raise the visibility of XYZ widget.”

2.    Don’t be afraid to evaluate the qualitative. When we hear measurement or evaluation our minds typically turn to numbers and advanced statistical formulas. While excluding quantitative metrics would be a mistake, including qualitative performance metrics in your analysis can really help show your client the ROI.

3.    Consider using an outside vendor for support. There are a number of vendors that can help you evaluate performance. You might already be using one of them as a clipping service. They are invaluable assets to you as they live the measurement and evaluation game and know what works and what doesn’t.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…

4.    DO NOT RELY ON AVE AND IMPRESSIONS EXCLUSIVELY. My apologies for the capital letters, but I can’t stress this point enough. Take it from me, advertising value equivalencies do not work and are not effective. If your clients want to use them, ask them to check out the Institute for PR library. The only way I would recommend using impressions to a client is if it was part of a much larger measurement program.

So, you see there’s a lot more to measurement than meets the eye. If you use these four things when talking to clients, I bet you’ll feel more comfortable talking about measurement and they will appreciate that you brought it up.

What have you found helpful to create more measurable PR efforts? Please share your tips with the rest of us in the comments.

Chuck Hemann is the research manager for Dix & Eaton, a communications consulting firm, where he helps lead measurement and competitive intelligence for the agency’s clients. You can connect with Chuck on Twitter and at his blog on PR measurement. The views in this post belong to Chuck Hemann and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of his employer.

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What is the Biggest Challenge For PR Pros in 2009?

mountain

We’re one quarter into 2009 and it seems like the only certainty we will have this year is uncertainty. Marketing has often been one of the first budgets trimmed in this tough economy and marketers have not been immune to pink slips and severance pay.

That said, the economy is not the only challenge we face, which made me wonder what you think is the biggest obstacle the PR industry needs to overcome this year to move forward.

It’s hard to pick the toughest opponent, but I think better measurement should be at the top of the list. When sharp pencils are aimed at budgets, the first things typically scaled back or cut out altogether are those which seem to provide the least return on investment. That’s why we need to find better ways to measure our efforts and quantify the value we bring to the marketing mix than simply relying on impressions and advertising value equivalencies. If CEOs and CMOs have a better understanding of PR’s value, then we’ll have a better chance at keeping – or increasing – our budgets and getting a seat at the infamous “table.”

What about you? Which of the challenges below do you think should receive top attention this year? If you select “other,” please share what your “other” is in the comments.

*Image by Damien du Toit.

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What’s Your Favorite “Unknown” Blog to Read?

ladder

As the occupier of a low rung on the blog-o-sphere’s proverbial ladder myself, I’m a big fan of finding people who are producing great content but still flying under the radar. That’s why I loved this post from Lisa Hoffmann, who got the idea from Jessica Gottlieb.

Here’s the gist: use the comments to share a link to your favorite not-yet-discovered blogger or two and a few lines about why their blogs are worthy of your selection. Then we’ll all have a nice list with which to update our feed readers.

I’ll kick it off with a few you may not have heard of yet. I’d highly recommend subscribing to each of them.

Social Media Snippets by Scott Meis
Scott shares great tips and tools for PR pros working in or interested in the social media space. His posts are chock full of practical know-how on leveraging social tools in meaningful ways for brands. (Scott’s RSS feed)

PR Start by Nick Lucido
I sometimes forget that Nick is still in college. He’s a smart kid with a unique perspective. With future pros like Nick waiting in the wings, our industry will only get better. (Nick’s RSS feed)

Client Service Insights by Leo Bottary
Leo freely shares great tips on delivering exceptional client service, all gleaned from more than 25 years in the PR business. (Leo’s RSS feed)

Your turn. Who do you want to spotlight? Please share links to their blogs, as well.

*Image by Colin Alexander.

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Twitter Starter Pack: 50 People You Should Follow

friends

You know how some things you buy – gaming systems, golf club sets for kids, etc. – come in starter packs that give you the goods you need to get started right out of the box.

Consider this your Starter Pack for great marketing, advertising, PR and social media people to follow on Twitter. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been tweeting for a while, I’d highly recommend making sure each of these folks is on your list.

In completely random order…

Amber Naslund (@ambercadabra)               Matt Batt (@storyassistant)
Scott Meis (@scottmeis)                                    Arik Hanson (@arikhanson)
Beth Harte (@bethharte)                                   Shannon Paul (@shannonpaul)
Edward Boches (@edwardboches)                Narciso Tovar (@narciso17)
Rachel Kay (@rachelakay)                                Lauren Fernandez (@cubanaLAF)
Jason Falls (@jasonfalls)                                    Geoff Livingston (@geoffliving)
Jack Wojcicki (@prjack)                                     Danny Brown (@dannybrown)
Ari Herzog (@ariherzog)                                    Adam Needles (@abneedles)
Brad Mays (@bradmays)                                    Chuck Hemann (@chuckhemann)
Dave Fleet (@davefleet)                                      Patrick Evans (@patrickrevans)
Rick Liebling (@eyecube)                                   Heather Huhman (@heatherhuhman)
Justin Levy (@justinlevy)                                  Kelley Crane (@kellyecrane)
Sonny Gill (@sonnygill)                                       Kirk Phillips (@kirkphillips)
Todd Defren (@tdefren)                                       Lisa Hoffmann (@lisahoffmann)
Libby Krah (@libbykrah)                                    Lara Kretler (@larak)
Sarah Evans (@prsarahevans)                          Mack Collier (@mackcollier)
Ann Handley (@marketingprofs)                     Terry Morawski (@morate)
Richie Escovedo (@vedo)                                   Linda Jacobson (@quepr)
Amybeth Hale (@researchgoddess)               Jen Wilbur (@rockstarjen)
Rohit Bhargava (@rohitbhargava)                  Scott Hepburn (@scotthepburn)
Susan Isk (@susanisk)                                           Kathleen Moriarty (@trendsaddict)
Scott Stratten (@unmarketing)                         Lauren Vargas (@vargasl)
Olivier Blanchard (@thebrandbuilder)          Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan)
Mandy Vavrinak (@mvavrinak)                       Lisa Dilg (@pprlisa)
Christine Perkett (@missusP)                             Chris Abraham (@chrisabraham)

Wait! Before you run off and follow these great minds, do us all a favor and share a comment with a few of your favorite people to follow on Twitter.

*Image by Ibrahim Iujaz.

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