Micro Persuasion: Fear of Losing Control Unites Us All
I agree with Steve on the concept that “we have to encourage our clients to experiment.” Yes, that’s one of the reasons companies hire an outside agency, to push them in ways they may not normally think and to be an external, somewhat more, objective voice on communications strategy and tactics.
I also agree with Frank Shaw in that too much is being made about companies needing to ‘let go of control’ in order to be successful in these ‘new’ communications tactics. If a client wants a sure thing, I tell them to buy an ad.
Our business is all about balancing risk with reward. For example, if you are working with The Wall Street Journal on an article on your client, the reward is a potential positive article that drives business/improves reputation etc., but the risk is that in the process of developing the article the reporter may talk to a disgruntled customer, partner or other voice that could turn the article negative for your client. The risks and rewards haven’t changed that much over the years, but the tools available have.
And to quote from Nicole Kidman as Dr. Lewicki in that superbly underrated (OK not that underrated but I saw it in one of the first theaters with THX and that WAS cool) film “Days of Thunder“:
Dr. Claire Lewicki: Control is an illusion, you infantile egomaniac (our whole PR industry not Steve). Nobody knows what’s gonna happen next: not on a freeway, not in an airplane, not inside our own bodies and certainly not on a racetrack with 40 other infantile egomaniacs.
The Long Tail: T minus 15 and FREE BOOKS!:
Chris Anderson is promoting his new book by, The Long Tail, by opening up the review process beyond mainstream media and offerring review copies to the first 100 bloggers that ask for it.
Great example of practicing what you preach. His post includes updates about the # of requests etc. PS – If you are reading this, you are too late. They are gone.
I’m a big fan of this theory, and of companies that use it as a basis for their business model.
WSJ.com – Cubicle Culture (subs. required)
Email signatures are utilitarian. On your work email they are not a place for employees to insert a cute quote or animated GIF (personal pet peeve here).
This is my email sig (on email it’s all one line):
Josh Morgan | Morgan/Dorado Public Relations | 916.941.0901 | Cell: 916.390.8328
Email is the primary method that employees of many company communicate with external audiences. It’s the job of PR/marketing to ensure consistency in external communications. Why should we stop at the content of the email that goes out? We shouldn’t.
I recommend that companies create a template for email signatures that clearly reflect their brand and serve the intended purpose. Also recommend that these are plain text, no pictures, gifs, fancy fonts etc. Why? As many people doI get a lot off my email on my Blackberry . When someone has a GIF as part of their signature it shows up as an attachment in myBlackberry email queue. I then open the attchment and get a waving flag or some other picture, something I’m not opposed to, but does it have to be at the end of every email that you send out?
If you have a favorite quote, use it on your personal email, but leave the work signature for ‘just the facts.’
the LOOSE wire blog: The Unsocial Web
As usual Jeremy Wagstaff does a great job breaking down numbers and potential reasons for them, this time in social media, like Digg (maybe this is why he writes for the Wall Street Journal and I don’t).
One of the factors that he calls out is the “The Weirdo Factor. We newspaper journos have known this for a while. The kind of people who contribute, or contribute most, don’t represent a good cross section of ordinary readers/users. Readers’ letters are always great to receive, and they may contain useful and interesting stuff, but they tend to come from the same people, or group or kind of people. And that means an editor would be a fool to treat his mailbag as a cross section of his readership. Same is basically true of the Net.”
I had a client that referred to this group as the “Lunatic Fringe,” actually he made this comment about me when I remarked that a headline that he suggested was remarkably close to a quote from “The Godfather.” He said that “only someone from the lunatic fringe would recognize” that.
This is the concept of the “echo chamber” of the web, that it gives a small group of people of the ability to dominate an online conversation. Overall, this is positive because that small group now has a larger voice than it did in the offline world. But, and this is a very big but, companies have to remember that the silent majority is out there and they have to listen to more than “the lunatic fringe.”
Top California Officials to Get 18% Pay Hike – Los Angeles Times: “At a time when most California workers are struggling to have their salaries keep pace with inflation, the state’s top elected officials will be treated to an 18% pay hike this year. “
I would have gotten hammered for writing a press release with a lead like this. This is not a political posting, I am not making any judgments about the pay raises for public officials. The thing that kills me is the lead for the article. Read the first sentence above. Nowhere in the article is an attribution for a statistic that says that “most California workers are struggling to have heir salaries keep place with inflation.
If someone finds this statistic that is being referred to please let me know and then please send it to the LA Times so they can include in a follow-up article.
Micro Persuasion: Cuban Kills Blog Comments:
Steve is surprised by Cuban’s move. I’m not. Here’s why.
Everyone seems to have conflicting numbers on how many people read blogs and how many actively participate by posting etc. But as the number that actively participates grows, can a single person with a popular blog actually be expected to keep it completely interactive?
With a corporate blog, a team can be assigned to moderate comments, and while Cuban could definitely afford ‘people’ to do this for him that doesn’t seem to be his style.
This, along with the issue of net neutrality, points to major growing pains for many things that are essential to the Internet continuing to be the collaborative environment that has enabled it to have such transformative effects, both good and bad, on society and business.
To me the Internet is a lot like democracy in that it works because people believe in it, they contribute to it’s success and it is good for business. Wonder what will happen to the Internet if people stop contributing to it because it’s not good for bsuiness.
Online News With a New Angle
I’ve been a fan of Digg for quite awhile (ok six months but that’s a long time in some eyes), it provides a great mix of news from traditional MSM sources as well as other sources such as very specific blogs.
An interesting factor to read into this is “who are the people submitting and ranking the articles?” According to a ZDNet article, there are 8.5 million monthly visitors to Digg, with only 304,000 of them ‘registered users.’ The rest of the 8.2 million readers are what the article calls ‘social freeloaders.’
The take away from this for the PR person is how the two different media outlets covered the Digg story. Leslie Walker at the Washington Post is introducing Digg to a mainstream audience. To the folks who read ZDNet, it’s a second or third stage story where the readers are for the most part early adopters and are familiar with the site and how it works.
When pitching a reporter ALWAYS take their readers into account.