Adventures in New Media

Adventures in New Media

Learn from Social Media Experts at Explore OC

For the first time Explore OC will be coming to town for a two-day conference that will bring together some of the top thinkers and influencers in the world of social media marketing.  Hosted by Social Media Explorer’s Jason Falls the conference promises to get down and dirty into the business of social media.

This arena of  business is still the wild west and I would without hesitation classify Jason Falls as the John Wayne of social media marketing — forging the path ahead. He has taken his successful web site “on the road” hitting major cities across the country, with Explore OC coming to Orange on Oct 18 and 19th.

Just some of the topics covered by speakers and expert panels include; developing an ROI framework for your business; how to operationalize social media across the enterprise; how research and data fuel more effective marketing campaigns; understanding Facebook’s advertising opportunities and how Fan Pages intertwine, how to approach multiple channels for an integrated marketing campaign; incorporating mobile marketing into your strategies; managing social content; the one secret to driving action through social media and many more.

I will be  sitting on the Media Panel: “How Radio, Film and Publishing are Adapting to the Social Era,” along with Ann Glenn of Sony Pictures, Corinne Baldassano from The Dr. Laura Radio Program, Jamie Kennedy of The Balancing Act (on Lifetime Television) on October, 19th.

Also on a panel is my good friend and partner in awesome, Marcy Massura. She will be on the “Making Sense of The Mess: Social Technology Tools & Platforms and Choosing Yours.” Sadly, both panels happen at the same time on the 19th, so you’ll have a whole Sophie’s Choice thing happening at that time …

OC Metro Magazine is the media sponsor of the two-day conference and we’re happy to be able to offer our reader a $250 off the regular price. You can go HERE to purchase  your tickets. Enter the code OcmetroVIP to receive the discount.

See you there!

10 Ways Journalists Can (and Should) Use Twitter

It’s not just for posting pictures of your ahi appetizers or finding out about Britney Spears’ rainbow hair extensions. Twitter has emerged as a useful tool for journalists all over the world. In fact, it’s largely due to major news stories that Twitter grew in its early stages. For example, the L.A. fires, Iraq protests, and the World Cup all contributed to spikes in Twitter users. The Arab Spring, Tsunami in Japan and Occupy Wall Street recently revealed led that Twitter continues to be a power tool for journalists.

Users turn to Twitter during times of crisis for updates that come far faster and much closer to the action than more traditional channels. It’s essential that new media journalists not only know how Twitter works, but also build followers and attach to communities that will benefit from their reporting. It doesn’t matter if you’re reporting on weddings, weather or war; Twitter needs to be in the toolkit of an effective journalist.

1. Report breaking news. It’s been proven time and again that Twitter can be the fastest conduit to emerging news stories.

2. Identify trending, newsworthy topics.

3. Test story ideas. Many journalists use Twitter to float ideas out to readers. A landslide of response can mean a topic is worth pursuing.

4. Connect directly with newsmakers. Sometimes a Tweet or Direct Message through Twitter is the easiest way to contact people making news.

5. Readers can follow the progress of a story if a journalist Tweets updates along the way. It builds interest in the story and lets readers tell reporters what they’d like to know.

6. Connect with other journalists.

7. Elicit quotes from followers on a subject. Adding “via Twitter” has become commonplace in new stories.

8. Build a following, personality and, most importantly, credibility as a journalist through Twitter. It takes an investment of time to interact with readers directly and become a trusted news source, but once a reporter is established on Twitter, he or she will be the place readers turn to during a crisis or to get the real story.

9. Share a competed story.

10. Receive direct feedback from readers.

OC Press Club is Calling for Entries for Journalism Awards

The Orange County Press Club is taking nominations for the 2012 Journalism Awards. I’m thrilled that this year we’ve added new blogging categories for new media journalist! Last year OC Press Club offered only two, this year we have four categories for blogs (five if you include Best Photo).

I’m honored to sit on the Board of the Press Club and pleased that the door has been opened wider for the new media. Here are some details for entering.

* Stories, photos and posts must have been published in an OC-based publication or blog.

* It’s also okay to enter nationally published pieces if you’re an OC-based writer.

*All materials had to be published or posted between Jan. 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011.

Entry deadline: Friday, May 18, 2012.

Award Categories

Best News story or feature

Best Investigative story

Best Public Affairs or Education story or series

Best Feature story

Best Round-up or ‘Best Of’ feature

Best Business story, feature or column

Best Sports story, feature or column

Best Arts or Culture story, review, feature or column

Best Music or Entertainment story, review, feature or column

Best Food or Restaurant review, story, feature or column

Best Travel story, feature or column

Best Broadcast about OC (radio/TV)

David McQuay Award for Best Columnist

Marjorie Freeman Award for Best Humorous Story

Best Entertainment blog

Best Lifestyle/Family blog

Best Food blog

Best News/Political blog

Best Photo

The Real O.C. award: for the story, review, feature, blog, column or photo that best captures something special, surprising, telling or essential about Orange County

The rules are fairly simple and you’ll find them outlined on the OC Press Club site.  You must be a member of the Press Club in order to enter a story, blog or photo. You can join the press club, here. If you’re a blogger or new media journalist, don’t be shy to submit your blog!

Six Ways Sales Professionals Can Use the Power of Twitter

Part of  my responsibilities as VP of Digital Content at Churm Media is to teach individuals and divisions of the company about social media. Sometimes it’s as simple as being the go-to person when someone has can’t upload a photo to Facebook.  But we’ve also taken a more thorough approach by offering a monthly “Digital U” class to our teams.

I developed these “Six Ways Sales Professionals Can Use the Power of Twitter”  for one session of Churm Media’s “Digital U” taught to our sales teams. It’s my firm belief sales professionals who are using Twitter properly can increase their sales benefiting their effectivness and the company’s bottom-line.

1. Make a Sales Call Without Leaving the Office

Communicating with clients via Twitter can build new depth to relationships. Since many companies are investing in social media marketing, the benefits of interacting with them in the social space is twofold: one, you’ll connect with them in a unique way, and two, you’ll be supporting their social efforts.

2. Connect on a Personal Level

Twitter should never be all business. Tweeting about a favorite team or sharing an article about a passion-fueled hobby can help bridge the gap between salesperson and client.

3. Share Your Company’s Latest News

Using the “Give Twice, Take Once” model for social media, every third tweet can be all about promoting yourself (or your company). As long as you’re interacting in a real way, you’re using Twitter properly.

4. Tap into What’s Important to Your Clients

What’s important to your client’s business right now? Whatever it is, you can bet they will be pushing it out on Twitter. Once you know what they need, it’s much easier to help them achieve their goals.

5. Track Industry News

One of Twitter’s most powerful uses lies in the way it allows a user to organize the news. It’s easy to tailor your Twitter feed (using Hootsuite) in order to focus on the news in a particular industry. What’s the new trend in parenting products? Who’s making news in OC’s restaurant world? Guaranteed it’s all on Twitter.

6.) Offer Social Assistance to Clients

An active and flourishing Twitter profile is an enormous asset to a business or individual. Once a salesperson has devoted time and energy  to their social networks he can use it to help clients promote their brand through retweets or tweets with links. He can also offer assistance to clients with their social efforts by sharing what’s worked for him on Twitter and what hasn’t.

Blogger Outreach Dos and Don’ts for PR Professionals

As both a professional blogger and digital news editor, I have a landslide of press releases and email pitches land in my inbox — upward of 500 a week. Many of them miss the mark entirely when it comes to communicating effectively with the new media journalists. I’ve learned to extend loads of grace to both bloggers and PR professions as we all march into the unknown territory of the new world of online media.

In that spirit, I’d like to identify some of the deadliest and most common mistakes made by PR professions when reaching out to bloggers or new media journalists. Then I share some helpful alternatives.

1.) Don’t be dishonest. Integrity is as important as ever  in the new world of media. Launching a pitch by telling a blogger that you’ve read his blog when clearly you haven’t is not good form. This is a very common mistake I see daily.

Do: Take at least a few minutes to scope out the blogger’s material and take note of their interests and themes. Bonus points if you mention a particular blog post. The goal is to build a lasting, working relationship with a blogger.

2.) Don’t call them “Mommy” bloggers. I know some bloggers who will instantly trash any email with subject lines reading something like: “Calling all Mommy bloggers!” As my friend and über blogger Marcy Massura likes to says, “No one calls me ‘mommy’ unless I gave birth to them.” It feels very much like a patronizing pat on the head.

Do: Use the more professional label of “Parent” or “Mom Blogger.”

3.) Don’t make them Google search your clients. A new media journalist simply won’t make the effort to find out more about your client if that information isn’t readily available. Half of the press releases I’ve received don’t include hyperlinks or photos – these are email pitches with no links! It’s also ill-advised to attach a press release to an email as a .pdf file. This is a sure way to have your email pitch deleted.

Do: Use hyperlinks and embed the body of your press release or pitch into the email.

4.) Don’t Forget the power of asking questions. I can almost guarantee the blogger will have a better idea for a story than a PR pro can think to pitch. Bloggers know the nuances and tastes of their readers better than anyone. They know their talents and strengths.

Do: Send an introductory email to the blogger and ask what story angle he thinks will fit well in his blog. This will create loads of goodwill and most likely result in a story that is dynamic and thoughtful. It’s also a great way to start a good working relationship with a blogger.

5.) Don’t use the phrase “For Immediate Release.” Standard press releases have their place — in the tray of the fax machine. They are becoming increasingly obsolete in the new world of  online media. Traditional press releases don’t translate to email.

Do: Connect with bloggers in a more personal way. Supply them with basic information he will need to formulate an idea for a story.

6.) Don’t ignore the power of your social media outlets. Navigating the landslide of PR pitches I get every week is an arduous, and sometimes, in all transparency, random process. Bloggers are far more likely to respond positively to requests for coverage if they recognize who is pitching to them. If you’re a PR pro and you  (or  your company) are not actively using and connecting on Twitter I would say you’re, conservatively, missing out on a mountain of opportunities. But more bluntly, you’re missing the boat altogether.

Do: Develop a professional Twitter account that represents you personally (or your organization) and interact with new media and bloggers through those avenues first. You’ll find your email pitches much better received. I can’t stress this enough: Get on Twitter.

7.) Don’t underestimate Klout. I’m a sold-out believer in Klout. It’s true, a PR pro has to make all analytics his friend, and KLOUT is an evolving tool, but it supplies a down-and-dirty glance at a blogger’s true influence. As a PR pro what you’re trying to gauge is if the blogger has an audience that is listening, not just followers. Klout fleshes that out for you in one glance.

Do: Spend a little time in the digits. Analytics are important. Numbers shouldn’t be the only tool a PR pro uses in determining the right blogger for them — location, niche, consistency, brand advocacy should all be players — but they sure are important.

Other posts about my adventures in new media:

Five Distinctions of a New Media Journalist (or blogger)

Disney was the First to Embrace Mom Bloggers

Follow me on Twitter: @SuzBroughton

Check me out on Klout: Suzbroughton





Five Distinctions of New Media Journalists

I’ve worked as a blogger for over five years and I’ve watched as well-intentioned PR professionals and companies struggle to meet the needs of new media journalists. They’re not sure what to do with us or how to speak our language. “Do we seat them with the traditional press? Why are they texting on their phones during a press conference? What’s a hashtag?” seems to be common refrain.

In hopes of closing the gap a wee bit, here are some distinctions between new media and old school traditional journalists. I’ll make sweeping generalizations and wild assumptions to make some points. Of course, not all of these apply to every new media journalist.

For the purposes of this list I’ll define a new media journalist as a refined and experienced bloggers, usually with more than one blog, each with an emphasis (or beat) on one subject. They may or may not be a professional (paid) blogger. Sometimes called online journalists, new media journalists use the thrilling and immediate avenues of content distribution — Twitter, Facebook, Instagr.am, Flickr, YouTube, and Google, blogs–and their content usually only appears online. This sets them apart from more traditional journalists.

Here goes:

1.) New Media journalists are a one-person show. Most write, shoot video, appear on camera, photograph, and do all the post editing of materials themselves. Some call themselves “backpack journalists” because they carry everything they need (or roller bag in my case) with them. In the new world of content distribution, the expectation is to post a story that has all the elements — reaching a reader in a format they prefer. A solid post is well written, has interesting photos and includes a video segment. All provided by the singular new media journalist.

The Three Disneyland Moms Hitting ACC to cover D23


2.) New media journalists don’t have the access to professional resources or expensive equipment. When supplying materials to the new media — like video footage — keep in mind most are editing video on their computer, so supply them with thumb drives in easily transferable formats (like .mov). I’ve had companies send me Beta tapes with b-roll. Though nostalgic and heartwarming, old formats like those are useless to a new media journalist. Same goes for stock photo accounts, lavalier mics and copy editors–they don’t have access to those things. So news providers should think to supply photos, a relatively quiet place for a video interview and forgive the occasional misplaced semicolon.

Shooting video on Canon 7D


3.) They are part of the story. This is one of the biggest philosophical differences between new media and traditional media. It’s definitely the biggest mental shift that PR professionals need to make when thinking “new media.” The reason bloggers are successful is because readers have taken a liking to their personal view of issues or activities. So bloggers want to interact in more genuine ways with top players in a story. New media journalists have “followings” that can sniff out an inauthentic story. A good new media journalist’s highest priorities are providing  factually correct and authentic story to their readers.

Shooting interview with Guy.


In practical terms, this means new media journalists  prefer a hands-on experience. They want to ride the Zamboni, get a photo with Mickey, or chat with the big brass of a company. They want to tell the story from the inside, narratively. It’s a fact, though my journalism professor from college would rather eat the suede patches on his corduroy sport coat than admit it, this is a real shift in the way most readers want to receive their news and information.

I played against Harlem Globetrotters at Honda Center


4.) They report in real time. Twitter, Facebook, Instagr.am, Tumblr, Google +, Flickr, YouTube all allow new media journalist to report the “real-time story” as it happens. According to Technorati, 40 % of bloggers says Smartphones have changed the way they blog. After experiencing the story, they go home and post a more formal blog entry, with nicely edited photos and sharply produced videos.

Here lies the real power  punch of the new media journalist. Their superpower. New media journalists often report several stories over an extended period of time — making their reports more dynamic, nimble and complete.

Jenelyn Russo and I write a sports blog at OC Family; covering opening of Ducks new restaurant


For instance, I recently covered the opening of Disney’s new resort in Hawaii. From the moment I got the assignment in September my report of the story began. Through social media I announced I was going to Aualni and gathered questions from readers and followers about what they wanted to know about the resort. I reported in real time the four days I was there, still answering questions and gathering information from followers and readers. By the time I boarded the plane to come home I had written three blog posts, posted two videos, and had photos up on Instagr.am and Flickr. I followed up with two additional blog posts before my print story ran in January.

See what I mean? Superpower.

5.) All new media journalists are different. Having said all that, it’s best to keep in mind it’s the Wild West out there. Some new media journalists would rather drop their iPhone in the toilet than accept a swag bag, while others look at them as payment for their work. Though the concept of journalism without rules or codes of conduct is scary (and I’ve seen and read some very frightening things), it’s also exciting to be part of the new world.

A wide net has been cast. All bloggers have been lumped together, but true new media journalists will rise to the top and continue to grow and become part of the mainstream media (If PR companies don’t hire them all away before then). In an ironic twist, I see five years from now that the very things that make blogging appealing and bloggers popular will be the undoing of a lot of them. Freedom. Power. Access. Notoriety. These are fresh ingredients in the new world of journalism. A good new media journalist wields them all wisely.

One last thought on the subject of new media journalists, I don’t believe they’ll ever replace traditional journalist, specifically reporters. They are distinctively different. Though new media journalists have a place in the media, there is still a dire need and, on a personal note, thankfulness for, traditional journalists. It’s important for PR professionals, companies, government agencies and other news providers to know how to prepare and provide content to both.

Other posts from me on New Media:

Disney Was the First to Embrace Mom Bloggers

How to Host a Practically Perfect Blogger Party

Follow me on Twitter @suzbroughton