If email was a country, its 1.4 billion users would make it the largest in the world. Bigger than China, bigger than the populations of the USA and European Union combined. 247 billion emails are sent each day. That’s one email every 0.00000035 seconds. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, some 20 million emails entered cyberspace. Every second, the world’s email users produce messages equivalent in size to over 16,000 copies of the Complete Works of Shakespeare (assuming a 30KB average email size). 13.4 billion: the number of direct marketing dollars forecast to go on email in the US in 2009. $583 billion: the return from that investment if you use DMA figures on email marketing ROI. That’s four times the market value of Microsoft. 181: the number of marketing emails it would take to produce enough revenue to buy one share in Microsoft. 83,689,738,832,367: the number of marketing emails it would take to produce enough revenue to pay the US National Debt. [Aside 1: When you see email stats like the above, you gain a new appreciation for the work of those companies and organizations managing email.] [Aside 2: And when you consider that many of these emails are spam, you can understand why ISPs and others have bigger problems to worry about than whether legitimate marketing email is reaching the right destinat
A one-day social media whirlwind shows not just how a self-proclaimed geeky company with no PR knowledge emerged from anonymity to become a media darling. It also illustrates how social media is changing how companies make news and how public relations is practiced.
Around 10 a.m. CDT on Aug. 12, Ryan Kelly, the founder and CEO of market insights and analysis firm Pear Analytics of San Antonio, posted the following on Twitter: “The Twitter Study we mentioned at #bmprsa is now available: http://bit.ly/17htXE interesting results…” BMPRSA is a San Antonio PR and social media group that Kelly had addressed a few weeks before, mentioning the upcoming study.
Almost immediately after he posted the tweet, a friend from sales and marketing company Sales by 5 sent him a Twitter direct message: “Please let me know when you release it, and I’ll send it to Mashable.”
By 5 p.m. that day, Pear’s study was featured on the front page of Mashable, one of the largest blogs discussing social media and technology. By 6 p.m., the study was the top two trending topics on Twitter. Later that evening, Kelly was interviewed by Robert Scoble, formerly of Fast Company and now an evangelist for Rackspace. And from there it went viral.
Do a Google search on Pear Analytics today, and you’ll see some 500 articles from everyone from the BBC to CNET to NBC.com to outlets worldwide writing about its study. It’s the sort of publicity a company would pay a big chunk of change to get.
Besides pointing out the phenomenal “make or break” quality of social media, there’s a delicious irony to Pear’s story. Its study’s big news was that 40 percent of Twitter messages are what it cleverly called “pointless babble” with just 8.7 percent of tweets to be deemed of value with worthwhile news content.
Of course, without Twitter, Pear’s study might have seen the fate of so many studies that end up unread and unreported. Nothing like soaring to prominence on a medium you’re denigrating.
What’s also fascinating about Pear’s story is that the company followed none of the traditional PR practices. No press release. No outreach to media. No loud announcement.
So what’s the secret to Pear’s PR success?
“I can attribute its success to a few things,” says Kelly, who was as surprised as anyone that the study took off. “I know nothing about PR. One, by analyzing the Twitter stream and categorizing the content, we did something no one else had done. Where, however, we really struck a chord was by labeling the most popular category, “pointless babble.” I think if we would have named this something else, it may not have gone as far. Most of the news outlets used that phrase in their headlines.
“And lastly, I have to say we had a little luck that day in that no other major news happened that week—like Michael Jackson—that would have buried our news easily.”
Why the Flip Camera Should Be in Your PR Toolkit
I’m biased. We bought Pure Digital, maker of The Flip, back in March. So stop reading if you like. If you are still reading, here are my top reasons why the Flip Video Camera is great for any and all PR professionals.
1. Phenomenally good for media training. I do a lot of media training and while I give my feedback for why an answer is good or has “opportunities,” the Flip doesn’t lie. I take it into media training sessions and during the mock interview I record. When I give feedback, I either go answer by answer on the video or I give oral feedback and then send the video via mail afterwards. I think it has had a big impact in helping improve our media spokespeople…because, hey, everybody can improve, right? And, seeing yourself on video gives you great feedback and practice when doing broadcast or company videos.
2. Great for social media releases, blogs and even bubbletweet. The beauty of The Flip is that it is VERY easy to use. And compact. And, idiot proof (i.e. limited to no training required). We started using video in PR in earnest about two years ago. We bought a nice HD camera. We created a Cisco YouTube channel for our videos. And we started embedding them in blogs and using them to visually tell our stories. We love video at Cisco and these videos have been successful. One drawback, however, was the availability of the camera…and then cameras. Who has it, I need it, etc. Now, with the Flip…we all have one. We can always capture something on the fly or do a more formal, tri-pod assisted video. It IS a part of our PR teams toolkit. Further, now that we all have one it is also a part of our yearly objectives to USE it. We all have to make at least one video a quarter and post it to our blog or otherwise use it in the furtherance of PR. If you are with the media and you haven’t yet received a pitch from us via Flip video…WATCH YOUR INBOX…it’s gonna happen.
3. The media is using the Flip. Everybody’s favorite Flip practitioner is, of course, Kara Swisher. She’s prolific. She’s funny. She’s the master. She’s interviewed everyone from Jonathan Kaplan (CEO of Pure Digital…creator of The Flip) to her son…to her mom…to Survey Monkey’s Dave Goldberg…to Steve Wozniak. She points the cam at her subject, asks questions off camera and voila she’s got great content and a blog post.
4. CAUTION: The Flip is MADE for Viral Video. Okay, you can’t tell what is going to go viral, but having a Flip increases your chances of capturing video that may capture the attention of your audience. Case in point: our CEO doing his now famous (infamous?) Duck Call. Literally, I heard the duck call from my desk. Grabbed my Flip camera and walked into his office and asked him to demonstrate for me. I taped it. Uploaded it. Blogged it. It now has nearly 18,000 views and was written about by Forbes, BusinessWeek, AllThingsD and more. Was it a great leadership video? No. Was it a great video to show that we are a big company but can still be a bit goofy and have some fun? Mission accomplished.
5. It teaches you to think VISUALLY. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? Telling a story with pictures is not the easiest. We didn’t all grow up in the television production business. Utilizing the Flip enables you to THINK video. What will look good? What will be visually compelling? Is the lighting good? Is the sound good? All these things are components of telling a good story. Now that we all have Flips in our pockets we are learning more and more how to think about good visual stories. And, while time will tell if this gets us more interest or more broadcast opportunities…this past quarter, we had much more broadcast than we’ve had in quite a while. Could it be that we were added to the Dow? Likely. Could it be that we are learning to tell visual stories better? Maybe.
And, finally, but certainly not completely:
6. It is the BEST note taker in the world. Ever have a conversation with someone and take notes on something you thought was a great idea and eloquently stated? You then look at your notes and realize that either you transcribed them wrong or you can’t read your own writing. That whiff of brilliance may have been lost. Not with the Flip. I ask to record the brilliant moment so that I can capture it for that point-in-time, brilliant talking point, message or whatever. Works every time.
Posted by John Earnhardt at 02:13PM PST
Agreed. The Flip is a great device – the point about thinking visually is spot on.
“Advertising and communications group WPP reported today that its PR and public affairs revenues dropped by 8.2 per cent in the first half of 2009, on a like-for-like basis.”
Angela & Steve agree: It’s all about ONE-to-ONE
Last night I felt like I’d died and gone to Heaven.
That’s the sensation one has when a passion is being filled to the brimming [tipping?] point.
For a student of the Social Media Revolution, nothing could be more gratifying and fulfilling than to hear a panel of highly influential Social Media Mavens describe what’s happening “out there” . . . Now . . . and what’s likely in our Future.
Sponsored by The Next Bench, an official HP destination for innovation and computing enthusiasts.
Last night: Wednesday, Aug 19 – San Mateo, CA
Moderated by Tony “Frosty: Welch, Community Manager for The Next Bunch, responsible for Web, Community and Social Media Strategy.
Steve Rubel, SVP Director of Insights for Edelman Digital, div. of the world’s largest independent PR firm.
Richard Brewer-Hay, Senior Manager Social Media Strategy & Chief Blogger for Ebay
Michael Brito, Social Media Strategist at Intel
Angela LoSasso, Social Networking Manager at HP
Selected HEADLINES from the panel discussion:
THE ENTIRE WEB WILL GO SOCIAL
FISH WHERE THE FISH ARE
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU NEED UNTIL YOU NEED IT
IT’S ALL ABOUT STORY-TELLING
THE MORE YOU LOWER THE BAR, THE EASIER IT IS FOR THE WORLD TO GO ROUND
IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT CONVERSION — CONVERSATION IS CRITICAL
Selected clips from the conversation:
* Experts are looking to lower the bar.
* The Social Media Revolution is like a fast-moving sushi train.
* The Top Ten websites from a decade ago had one social network site; today more than half are social media.
* Digital Embassy Strategy: Fish where the fish are — have Embassies in all the venues where your customers are
* The Four Basic Means of Measuring Social Media Value: (1) Reach; (2) Engagement; (3) Reputation; (4) Trial/Transaction
* Being “Gracious” is vital to being IN with Social Media.
* People don’t buy products; they buy LifeStyles.
* Companies are screwing up as they experiment with social media, BUT these mistakes don’t seem to hurt the Bottom Line.
* Social Media is NOT YET MAINSTREAM!
* Innovation really matters: *****INNOVATE IN SMALL WAYS – Those who innovate and iterate in small ways are positioned to pull ahead when things go mainstream. When something becomes a winner, you’ll be there.
Those who innovate and iterate in small ways are postioned to pull ahead when things go mainstream.
* Do not look at Social Media in a vacuum: Look at all stakeholders and determine where social media fits. Where’s the HIGHER PURPOSE?
* Smart companies will take advantage of people with strong personal brands.
* Social Media, conversation media, whatever you want to call it — it’s all about one-to-one.
* We’re on THE CUTTING EDGE: The Internet is always changing.
Frosty the Moderator
Michael, the Intel Voice
Richard, Ebay’s Chief Blogger
Aren’t you sorry you missed it? You can see and hear some of the discussion on YouTube when the videos are posted.
Don’t miss the next in HP’s series. Just check with Frosty.
This entry was posted on Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 2:22 pm and is filed under Blogging, Branding, Business Growth, Facebook, Future of Marketing, Internet Marketing, Listening, Performance Social Media, Personal Branding, ROI, Roadmap, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Success. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
To prevent identity confusion, Twitter is experimenting (beta testing) with a ‘Verified Account’ feature. We’re working to establish authenticity with people who deal with impersonation or identity confusion on a regular basis. Accounts with a are the real thing!
A Vogue cover girl has won a precedent-setting court battle to unmask an anonymous blogger who called her a “skank” on the internet.
In a case with potentially far-reaching repercussions, Liskula Cohen sought the identity of the blogger who maligned her on the Skanks in NYC blog so that she could sue him or her for defamation.
A Manhattan supreme court judge ruled that she was entitled to the information and ordered Google, which ran the offending blog, to turn it over.
“How useful is the big number?” Agreed – there does appear to be a fear of small numbers in many quarters.
The focus of traditional PR still seems to be heavily on print and broadcast media, which are, as pointed out in the Social Media Today article, still the mediums with the biggest numbers. The article claimed that some 88% of newspaper reading time is in print and I’ve got no reason to doubt that figure.
How much do numbers matter though? Surely effective marketing is all about who’s in the audience, not how big it is?
The power of online is in the level of engagement. Done well, a brand’s online presence will have personality that’s much easier to convey on screen than in print. It’s much quicker (and cheaper) to build valuable relationships online; there are no print deadlines, no word limits, no editorial guidelines, no boundaries.
Where will this leave traditional PR? Nowhere fabulous, I suspect. PR probably is still partying like it’s 1999 right now, but it’s very nearly time for the music to stop. For many small and switched on businesses, the return they’ll get from engaging with the world through the web will be much higher than sticking with old-school PR.
Digital Agencies are already elbowing PR aside, and within a couple of years, a traditional PR agency will be fairly niche. Times change, and in 2010 people will want to feel increasingly engaged with the brands and people they choose to do business with.
In a world where your relationship with your customers and prospects is the single most important thing in your business, the arm’s length approach of using traditional PR will seem as outdated and as engaging as sending a fax.
Read the article that got me thinking here: http://bit.ly/2UVV8A