Is your social media marketer prepared to handle a crisis?

Social media marketing is all the rage with companies adding social media strategists faster than most people can hammer out 140 characters and send a Tweet. The rapid increase in available positions is testimony to the effectiveness of social networking in driving business and validates the millions of dollars shifted from traditional marketing strategies to digital strategies. But is the explosion in new hires exposing companies to crisis risk?

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I live in the Nashville, Tenn., area and a quick search of several job sites generated no less than 23 positions seeking social media marketing specialists. Only two of those positions were senior level positions like a digital marketing strategist. The remaining positions required, on average, two years or less experience. Translation: Companies are putting relatively inexperienced people in frontline customer interaction positions. Continue Reading

Five media relations tips for when reporters call

Here’s a new twist on the expression, “You can’t really know a man until you walk a mile in his shoes,” and it goes like this: “You can’t really know a reporter’s frustration until you’ve tried in vain to reach multiple media relations people while on deadline.” I’ve recently walked that mile and it triggered unpleasant flashbacks.

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I cut my teeth as a reporter before  transitioning to corporate communications more than 15 years ago. I loved being a reporter. It was hard, but rewarding work. However, the thing I categorically hated about that job was dealing with public relations and media relations people. Too many were condescending, acting as if their organizations were entitled to coverage in our paper. It made an impression on me, and shaped the way I responded to journalists when I became a media relations manager. Continue Reading

Writing words that matter; 5 tips to improve your communications

Words are the molecules that create the science of language. Merriam-Webster, the dictionary people, estimate there are approximately a million English words, but rightly explains – as does Slate – there is no way to know for sure an exact number. We do know, however, there are several that downright annoying people.

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Ragan Communications recently published its list of 25 Least Favorite Words, compiled through an informal survey on its Facebook page. Among those making the list were: Essentially, basically, methodology, vetted, align, aforementioned, functionality and irregardless. To this list I’d like to add: Bandwidth, group-think, synergy and its cousin, synergistic. Unfortunately, the perpetrators of these offending words are often organizational communicators. Stop it! Continue Reading

Content marketing done the “right” way

I found it humorous the other day when my brother-in-law was reminiscing about the early days of the Internet. He was just 12 years old when, “Welcome, you’ve got mail,” introduced itself to American culture. His point, however, was how everything has changed because of the Internet, most notably the way we do business.


Fast forward to 2006 when blogging was all the rage and Twitter was a newborn in diapers. A few people like Brian Solis were rightly prognosticating the future of social media and its impact on business, but it has really only been in the past three years that businesses are catching up. Unbelievably, some businesses haven’t yet left the social media marketing station while others simply don’t know there is a train to board. Continue Reading

Writing 20,000 Words in 4 days

Writing books can be a daunting task. However, there is a lot of copy cranked out every year. According to Wikipedia, The United States published 328,000-plus new titles in 2010. There are probably that many more manuscripts in some stage of preparation every year. Writing books can be a labor of love or slave labor, depending on your perspective. Which is it for you?

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I began last week with one objective: gather 25,000 words into a completed, coherent manuscript. I scurried around and found 20,000 words in four days, falling short but knowing why. Whether you are just diving in or struggling to stay afloat, here are five ideas for making a successful push to complete a short manuscript in a short period of time. Continue Reading