We Are Communication Architects

Building brand awareness through content creation and community engagement.

June 30th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 6/30: Questions Recruiters Ask Before Hiring You, Tips to Be Efficient in Your Job Search & More

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Social Media

An Algorithmic Feed May Be Twitter’s Last Remaining Card To Play

“Twitter has done nearly everything it can to refine and enhance the way tweets present information, without touching the order in which they’re published. That order — chronological, with no algorithm elevating the “best” tweets — has long been sacred ground for the company. The order is cherished by Twitter’s core users, with many arguing its organic surfacing of news and conversation is what makes Twitter work.”

Voce Insight – As it stands, the onus to organize the millions of tweets flowing through Twitter on a daily basis falls on its users. Though an algorithm might make for easier experience (and potentially more money for Twitter), it will irrevocably change how and when certain tweets make it through to a larger audience. Should an algorithm be put in place, community managers need to take that into account when making recommendations to clients.

12 Questions to Ask Before You Hit ‘Send’ on Social Media

“Sometimes, it’s good to pause and reflect on the emotion behind a post. Is the post a knee-jerk reaction to something? If it’s real-time, did I take a moment to pause and re-read before hitting publish?”

Voce Insight – It’s always better to take an extra few moments to reflect on what you want to post, rather than post something that you can’t take back. Social media tends to be unforgiving, so if you make a mistake or post something too controversial, your fans will take notice, and not in a positive way. Err on the side of caution with what you post to ensure you won’t have issues.

Public Relations

Yes, PR pros, you do use math—and more than you realize

“Ever find yourself calculating the percentage change in a PR metric over time? What about looking at shifts in company share price? All these activities require the application of basic arithmetic.”

Voce Insight – Remember when you were required to take math classes and you thought to yourself, “when will I ever need to use this stuff for my career?” Well guess what – “If you’re managing a client’s budget, you’re doing math. If you’re using data points to pitch a story, you’re doing math. If you’re managing a research project which comprises surveys, you’re doing math. If you’re running your own PR business, you’re absolutely doing math.”

Wikipedia Pages of Star Clients Altered by P.R. Firm

“Sunshine Sachs, a powerful public relations firm that represents Ms. [Naomi] Campbell and others, has played loose with Wikipedia’s standards and recently violated the site’s updated terms of use agreement, by employing paid editors who fail to disclose their conflict of interest on the website.”

Voce Insight – Wikipedia is one of the first places a reader might go to get more information on a company or public figure, which makes it an important place for communications professionals. However, when making edits, representatives should always disclose their conflict of interest and only seek to correct incorrect facts or omissions. This requires collaboration with community managers and patience, which will all be worth it to avoid headlines like this. More on this here.

Career

Questions Every Recruiter Asks Before Hiring You

Learning how to proactively problem-solve is a skill that requires practice over time, so you’re not going to be expected to be a master problem-solver right out of the gate. But you do need to show evidence that you can solve problems, and that you have the potential to develop that skill over time.

Voce Insight – Always try to figure out the answer to a problem before asking someone else for help. Your managers are there to help you, but they’ll become frustrated if the answer to your question is right in front of your face. If all else fails, Google it. That may sound too simple, but most of your questions probably have solutions on the internet.

Use These Tips To Be Efficient In Your Job Search

“Any great plan requires a detailed and creative strategy. Your career goals matter and your job search should center on those goals. Each day, you should have a plan of attack – whether it is spending the morning reaching out to recruiters on LinkedIn or tweeting to staffing agencies, and spending your afternoons following up to HR managers, your job search must encompass strategic execution of that plan to achieve results.”

Voce Insight – It may seem like a good strategy to apply to every job, particularly if you are in desperate need of new work. But not every career is relevant to you and your skills. In addition, you may not be a match in terms of organizational values and company culture.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

June 29th, 2015

Rich Cline Named a Top Tech PR Agency Executive

Voce co-founder and agency President Rich Cline has been named to Hot Topics PR 100 2015, a list of the most influential tech agency PR executives in the world, a list generated by the members of the Hot Topics community. Congratulations to Rich!

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Filed in Voce News, Voce People

June 23rd, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 6/23: Ways to Maximize Your Team’s Talent, Hidden Agenda Behind Common Interview Questions & More

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Social Media

Facebook is Nipping at Youtube’s Heels in the Race for Video Viewers and Advertisers

“According to a recent survey and market research by Ampere Analysis, Facebook is on track to deliver two thirds as many video views in 2015 as YouTube does — two trillion versus YouTube’s three trillion. Both services have a comparable number of monthly users overall.”

Voce Insight – Facebook’s decision to focus more on video content is apparently paying off. By adjusting their algorithm to favor native video uploads, Facebook is on its way to video domination. Only time will tell if they will be able to overtake YouTube, but the initial reports show they are growing extremely fast.

What Are the Best Times to Post on Social Media? [INFOGRAPHIC]

“It turns out that people engage on Facebook most on Thursday and Friday. A lot of people use Facebook when they are at their desks in the their offices, but don’t want to be. Indeed, 86% of posts are published during the week. Earlier in the week, peole are trying harder to actually work, so engagement falls below 3.5% on those days.”

Voce Insight – It’s important to remember that when you post varies from platform to platform, which this infographic does a good job of illustrating. This is good to use as a general guide, but you should also take lessons from your own specific audience and tailor your publishing program accordingly.

Public Relations

Introducing the News Lab

“It’s hard to think of a more important source of information in the world than quality journalism. At its best, news communicates truth to power, keeps societies free and open, and leads to more informed decision-making by people and leaders. In the past decade, better technology and an open Internet have led to a revolution in how news is created, distributed, and consumed.”

Voce Insight – The democratization of information has given journalists more power than ever to produce high quality journalism. However, it has also created more competition than ever. Looking beyond this announcement from google, it’s not hard to imagine every newsroom being something like a laboratory. Journalists are always striving to summon powerful data to produce something useful for their readers. This is something PR professionals should keep in mind when contacting them.

4 Ways to Avoid Overservicing PR Clients

“Overservicing, doing more than you’re getting paid for, is a common challenge for PR firms and firm leaders. Sometimes it’s a conscious business decision – you’ve decided to invest your time to expand your work for a company, or you’re flexing your muscles with a new capability that’s going to take your team more time to showcase their talents. But, typically, it’s not consciously planned or agreed upon. It just happens, and it happens time and again.”

Voce Insight – Spending too much time on a client can take a toll on your team, so it’s best to avoid whenever possible. This starts by accurately recording your time and letting your managers know if certain activities are eating too many hours. That way they can have honest conversations with clients to better set service expectations.

Career

Master Your Craft: 7 Ways to Maximize Your Team’s Talent

“On the road to greatness, natural talent alone is rarely all it takes. Without the gumption to harness that natural ability into something transcendent, the talented are doomed to live in mediocrity.”

Voce Insight – Chances are you’ll be working with some highly talented individuals over the course of your career. Still, individual talent is never enough, especially in the PR industry. Team members need to be able to trust each other to bear their share of the load. This means creating meaningful connections with those co-workers and communicating as much as possible.

Direct from HR: Hidden Agenda Behind Common Interview Questions

“Tell me about yourself” lends a few different clues about a candidate that I can only find out by asking such an open-ended and subjective question. The depth of their story tells me how quick they are to open up to people, it also gives me a window into their judgment on professional conversation and work-appropriate content.

Voce Insight – Make sure to practice top interview questions so you are better prepared with a well-rounded answer for your interview. Being prepared will not only help you sound educated and intelligent when you reply, but will also build your confidence so you can go into your interview without any fear.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

June 17th, 2015

Archiving Content a Key Part of On-Domain Publishing

(Note: This post originally appeared on the PNConnect blog)

There’s a thought-provoking post by Melody Kramer at Poynter today about news organization and ephemeral content. Specifically she’s addressing the question of how – or if – those media companies can or should be archiving the posts they’re publishing to services like Facebook through Instant Articles and Snapchat, in some cases through Discover. Even more minute than that, how are news organizations capturing and keeping the captions they put on a Facebook photo, or the copy in a Tweet that links to an on-domain story?

Image via Wikimedia https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Fondos_archivo.jpg

As usual, many of the questions and issues that are asked and raised here about the news world also has implications and applications to the world of brand publishing.

Similar to how news organizations have to, brand publishers have to walk the line between accomplishing a number of goals. We certainly want the brands we work with to be adjusting to market trends and right now there’s no bigger trend than off-domain publishing. Again, Facebook Instant Articles and Snapchat Discover are leading this trend, though Twitter certainly wants you to do as much organically on their network as possible and YouTube, in addition to being a great video archive, is essentially an off-domain tool where you can host a self-contained presence.

Interestingly, as I’m writing this the story popped the Reported.ly, a new news organization that at first embraced an approach of going completely native on social networks, has launched a website. The reason? To add context, allow for bigger-picture views and act as an archive. In other words, everything that a website should do.

This is a line we walk ourselves as counselors to our clients whose publishing programs we advise on. We know what works – the hub-and-spoke strategy that focuses on owned content being published on-domain and distributed to managed channels – but also want to make sure our clients are going where the audience is and that audience is increasingly living and reading within apps and social networks.

There aren’t the same concerns for brands that media organizations have. Corporate blogs aren’t going to be the paper of record, but those archives do have historical value. There may also be regulatory considerations that mean a brand has to be archiving all communications.

Finally, there’s tremendous value in having an archive of content to pull from to combat content decay. The only channel that’s future-proof is the one you control. It’s a bit hyperbolic, but Facebook could disappear next year. Snapchat could fold. Vine could be shuttered. And are you comfortable playing the odds that before they go away that they’ll make sure you can download an archive of everything – posts, comments, engagement and so on – you’ve done over your time there?

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Media, Publishing Programs

June 16th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 6/16: Twitter Removes DM Character Limit, Mistakes Smart People Make & More

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Social Media

Twitter to Remove 140-Character Limit on Direct Messages

“While regular tweets will still be capped off at 140 characters, direct messages will now have a maximum count of 10,000 characters.”

Voce Insight – Removing the character limit for DM’s is just one more step in the right direction for Twitter. The DM character limit was a universal gripe for Twitter users, and by removing the limit, Twitter may have won back some fan loyalty. On the other hand by removing the character limit it loses some measure of marketplace differentiation. Still, Twitter has long under-utilized DMs as a feature and with so much activity around messaging it’s not surprising they would start to draw attention to it.

Lessons From 15 of Our Best-Performing Tweets

“When it comes to Internet culture and social media trend-jacking, brands have to tread carefully; a failed attempt to use an inside joke can result in some pretty awkward interactions.”

Voce Insight – It’s important to experiment and try new things on social media. If you consistently are seeing the same results with the same kind of posts, don’t just let things stay a standstill. Shake things up! Experiment with memes and GIFs, jump into a trending topic, etc. You’ll never experience greater results if you don’t try something new.

Public Relations

7 steps to better editing

“When using synonyms, think about your target audience’s reading level to avoid distracting words. Hopefully the message they receive is in the whole of your writing, not just individual words.”

Voce Insight – Public relations requires a lot of writing, but even more editing. More often than not, you’re editing a colleague’s writing, which can be a tricky proposition. Using all the tools at your disposal and then providing clear, constructive feedback is important for the writer. After reading the writing aloud, going to a thesaurus for alternate ways to express something is a particularly helpful step.

The U.S. Media Barons Set To Hand Over Empires to Next Generation

“Four of the largest U.S. media companies will be under new management as patriarchs Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone prepare to hand the reins to their children.”

Voce Insight – The world of traditional, established media is generally pretty small, particularly with the high numbers of mergers and acquisitions in the past. Understanding the structure of media in the U.S. is a valuable history lesson for aspiring PR professionals, especially when putting together national targets for a media plan. Paying attention to how these successors take on their new responsibilities will be important for the future.

Career

7 Stupid Mistakes Smart People Make

“Just because you’re smart in one area, doesn’t mean you’re smart about everything, nor does it mean that you can take shortcuts. Many smart people make the mistake of thinking it does, several people pointed out.”

Voce Insight – It’s important to be confident in your abilities, but not come across as cocky. All of these mistakes are things you should avoid in your internship or first job. It’ll be a strange transition going from the top of the totem pole as a college senior, to the bottom as an entry-level employee, but don’t let your “smartness” get in the way of your career.

I Had My Interview. Now What? 5 Post-Interview Tips

“If you work in communications, instructional design, or a field with writing or design samples, ensure you’ve selected something stellar from your portfolio if you’re invited to the next round of interviews. You may have already provided a work sample earlier in the process, but it can’t hurt to bring another.”

Voce Insight – Just because your interview is over doesn’t mean your potential employer is done evaluating you. Every action you take post interview can make or break that first impression. Sending a thank you note, and following up goes a long way to showing a hiring manager that you are professional and ready to work.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

June 15th, 2015

Facebook Adds “Time Spent” As a Ranking Metric

What Is It: Facebook announced last Friday that “time spent” would be included as one of the important metrics determining what people see in their Newsfeed. The logic from Facebook is that people may read stories that are interesting to them but don’t, for whatever reason, take one of the traditional engagement actions like commenting, liking and so on. So in the absence of those the amount of time people spend reading the story should, by their logic, play a role in what is surfaced to others.

What Does This Mean: On the surface this seems like Facebook moving the goal posts yet again to favor something from Facebook, in this case Instant Articles. The goal of those are to keep the reader within Facebook and not just be a pointer to an on-domain story, so naturally more time is going to be spent with them than something that’s quickly read and clicked on to read more.

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Not only does this help that, though, it also is clearly meant to penalize those publishers who engage in what is sometimes derisively called “click bait.” When you think about so many of the new media players of the last few years you think of headlines that end with “…And You Won’t Believe What Happens Next” that encourage people to spend as little time as possible on Facebook or other networks and get to the site as quickly as possible to find out what, exactly, happens next.

While not all brand publishers have engaged in editorial tactics like that most have a similar goal, which is to make the conversion from social network to on-site as quickly as possible for any or all of a variety of reasons.

So what can those brand publishers do to tack and make sure they’re not amongst those taking a hit because people aren’t spending long periods of time on their stories? Learn how to tell concise stories.

There’s a bit of room – not a lot, but enough – between posting a teaser that is meant to be consumed quickly before generating a click and going all Instant Articles and completely abandoning the hub-and-spoke strategy we evangelize here. But that amount of space requires content producers to get really good at encapsulating the story in an engaging way and gets the point across while still leaving enough to the imagination that people want to read more. That’s an interesting trick to pull off, but it can be done.

Outside of all that, it’s also representative of the change that’s happening in the overall online media world, as traditional metrics like clicks, pageviews and so on lose their prominence – at least among forward-thinking sites – in favor of “time spent,” “quality views” and so on.

Overall this is a change that will, as just about every such change has, have some sort of impact on brand publishers. Organic reach has dropped like a stone in the last couple years and this will continue that trend. But, as stated above, there’s at least some way for publishers to do what they can to counteract that. Now they just need to do it.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Publishing Programs, Social Networks

June 12th, 2015

Twitter, Dick Costolo and the Myth of Perpetual Growth

The social media and business worlds were abuzz yesterday with the news that Twitter’s embattled CEO, Dick Costolo, is resigning, to be at least temporarily replaced by founder Jack Dorsey. Virtually every story about Costolo’s resignation cited the same factor — user growth struggles — as one of the major reasons for his departure, and for Wall Street’s dissatisfaction with his performance.

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It’s impossible for outsiders to know what kind of person Costolo is, whether his personality is a good fit for the company, or whether he truly was a good CEO. But if the speculation is true about the main reason for his departure, then Twitter has been let down by unrealistic shareholder expectations — expectations that reflect one of the most commonly made mistakes in the social media industry. It’s possible that going public, at least in the short term, hurt Twitter more than it helped.

There is a myth prevalent in social media — or at least, believed by those who don’t understand social very well. It is the myth of perpetual growth, and that growth is always attainable. This myth postulates that growth curves are infinite, that ever-increasing numbers of consumers will be interested in your product or service, and that, to paraphrase Gordon Gekko, “growth… is good.”

Perpetual growth is not only not possible, it’s also not even necessarily good

This certainly seems to be the attitude of Twitter’s investor base and of Wall Street. A subscribed user base of “about a billion” and 302 million monthly active users is seen to pale against the giant on the block, Facebook, and its approximately 1.4 billion users. Twitter’s growth rates have certainly slowed. And after months of disquiet, the shareholders’ voices got loud enough, and Costolo resigned (almost certainly not of his own accord).

The problem is that perpetual growth is not only not possible, it’s also not even necessarily good. Believing in that myth is one of the most simple mistakes a brand can make in its social media program — selecting fan growth and fan numbers as KPIs against which the program is measured, which leads them to spend lots of ad and promotion money trying to achieve those follower counts, whether on Twitter, Facebook, or any other platform.

Social media efforts are better focused on increasing the engagement rate

But as we’ve seen most evidently with Facebook’s algorithm changes, audience size doesn’t always matter. Your organic (read: non-paid) reach on Twitter dwarfs that of Facebook, and even then it’s only 30%. So accumulating 100,000 followers on Twitter doesn’t mean you’re actually reaching 100,000 people with your content or messages. At best, you can hope for about 30,000 of them, on average.

Social media efforts are better focused on increasing the engagement rate — how many fans are actually interacting with your content or your community manager — than blindly trying to increase fan counts for their own sake. It’s far better to have a smaller, more engaged community that actually interacts with you than a large, casual and disengaged community that may or may not see or care about your content or messaging.

This is understood by most social media marketing professionals, whether they’re on the agency side or the client side. It’s not always grasped by those with a peripheral understanding of the genre, however, and occasionally you still see brands spending time and money chasing followers in the misguided belief that growth automatically equals good.

Twitter wasn’t going to keep growing meteorically forever

Twitter’s shareholders appear to have made the same mistake and may be equally misguided. Many of them, I would venture, don’t have a full understanding of how social media marketing works; they just invested in something they’d heard lots of hype and buzz about. To them, user base growth equaled value and return, and they demanded it of Costolo and the rest of Twitter’s leadership. Even the more seasoned and knowledgeable of Twitter’s shareholders appear to have been looking at the platform’s user base as the most critical of the KPIs they measured leadership against.

But just like in social media strategy, the shareholders made the mistake of believing in the myth of perpetual growth rather than focusing on whether Twitter was providing actual value to its users. Twitter wasn’t going to keep growing meteorically forever. But the shareholders and Wall Street equated the slowing of user growth to failure.

Instead of tilting at that windmill, the shareholders were better off looking at Twitter’s functionality, its features, and whether its established users were deriving value from the tool and were using it regularly. Just as in social media strategy, a smaller, more engaged user base is better than a large, casual one. A user base of 300 million people who find Twitter vital, use it daily, or are even willing to pay for certain features or services, is far better than a community of 500 million of which more than half are casual, disengaged, and who frequently question its value. Quality over quantity should have been the mantra.

The next CEO should be judged on whether she or he has made the platform more friendly and valuable to users

Unfortunately for Twitter, going public meant from that point on its real, demonstrable value to shareholders and investors was going to be tied to its ability to sell advertising. And advertisers want – they need – scale. So if Twitter can’t continue to show substantial growth on a consistent basis then the advertisers aren’t going to spend the money because the sheer audience size they’re looking for isn’t there, at least not in their eyes. Twitter itself knows this, so you see their advertising innovations revolve around increasingly granular ways to target the existing user base even as they also roll out new features to try and figure out how to be more valuable to that base while attracting new ones. Whether these new features ultimately successfully appeal to users is yet to be seen, but those efforts, not user base growth, should have been the yardstick against which Costolo and his leadership team were measured.

When the history of Twitter is written, the book will most likely judge Dick Costolo as a failed CEO. That’s at least a little unfair. He was a victim of unrealistic shareholder expectations, based on outdated perceptions of what success looks like in social media. If Twitter’s shareholders don’t learn and correct their expectations, the next CEO is in many ways set up to fail. Twitter is not going to attain stratospheric growth again; that part of its history is already written. Instead, the next CEO should be judged on whether she or he has made the platform more friendly and valuable to users, whether they’re willing to pay for some of the new services the company has rolled out. Utility to the existing user base and growing revenue amongst that base are far better KPIs than user base growth.

Let’s hope for the new CEO’s sake that more Twitter investors figure that out.

About the Author
Christopher Barger is Senior Vice President of Global Digital at Voce/Porter Novelli. You can follow him on Twitter @cbarger.

Filed in Social Networks

June 10th, 2015

One Headline Perfectly Sums Up the Shift from Search to Social

There have been countless stories written over the last few years about “click bait” headlines, most of them full of hand-wringing about devaluing the reader’s time and so on. But there’s another angle on this that doesn’t get the attention it deserves and which (and yes, I’m aware of the contradiction in saying this) is summed up by one perfect headline.

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That headline – and many more like it – shows a bigger shift than just toward “click bait,” though that’s part of it. It shows an almost complete abandonment of search visibility in favor of headlines that work well on social, at least for the moment.

Contrast that, though, with the URL for the story, which is still very search-oriented:

http://time.com/3914492/blythe-danner-madoff/

These sorts of headline tactics have obviously moved out from publications like Buzzfeed, Mic and others into more…what do we even call them anymore? Is Time mainstream? Do we measure that by page views? Print versions? Perhaps “legacy sites” is a better nomenclature. Regardless, this is now commonplace across the web on sites of all shapes and sizes as everyone seeks to get the attention of the Facebook and other social audiences.

What’s lost, though, is the broader web. If we’re not creating stories that are findable via search (and as long as search on social networks ranges from merely bad to wholly unusable) then we’re quite literally losing our archives.

We used to fret over whether our headlines were packed with enough search keywords and that there was a date not only at the top of the page but also in the URL slug. Now we’re operating in a world where headlines should be as vague as possible to encourage clicking from Facebook and many publications are eschewing dates because they want their content to be evergreen. The latter is also fairly unfriendly to search since it makes it difficult to gauge the timeliness of what you’re reading.

This isn’t meant to sound nostalgic for some idyllic time that’s past, but this is definitely a time that is if not in the past at least not not in fashion at the moment.

It’s incumbent on content marketing strategists (you know, like the ones you find here at Voce) to walk the line between staying current with these trends and advising clients on long-term best practices. That can be a tough balance to achieve and, honestly, will require some experimentation as tactics are tested, reported on and adjusted as necessary.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Publishing Programs

June 9th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 6/9: Life After College, Budget-Friendly PR Tactics & More

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Social Media

How to Use Private Twitter Lists to Deepen Coverage of Companies

“Twitter lists are my favorite way to filter information. A private Twitter list lets you follow anyone without them knowing you follow them, which basically undermines the whole idea of social media, but has its uses if you are a checking out a company, for instance, and don’t want to follow visibly.”

Voce Insight – Twitter can be a flood of information, quickly inundating you with too many updates to count, let alone read fully. Diverting this rushing river into smaller channels through Twitter lists can make the platform much more useful. Moreover, you can make private lists for yourself or use public lists to show your colleagues and friends who you like to follow most. They can also be useful as a way to follow a number of people centered around a single topic, increasing your knowledge on that topic and getting to know who the influencers are.

After deciding to charge for comments, Tablet’s conversation moves…to Facebook

“The post has been tweeted almost 200 times, but it’s really been a hit on Facebook where the original post has received more than 3,100 likes and the story has been shared more than 13,500 times. The Facebook post has also attracted dozens of comments as people shared their reactions to Salovey’s speech.”

Voce Insight – The tone of comment threads from readers and followers can range from positive and valuable to vitriolic. If you work on a publishing program, ask yourself what role your comment threads play in engagement and see how you can bring more value to the dialogue.

Public Relations

Should Journalists Know How Many People Read Their Stories?

“Soon, reporters at two of the country’s leading newspapers will have access to the most basic type of digital analytics: They will be able to see web-traffic data for their own stories. That is, they will at least know how many people clicked on them, where they came from, and how long they lingered.”

Voce Insight – The fixation of reporters on digital analytics varies from publication to publication, but knowing that this is an industry-wide pressure is very valuable as a PR professional. Asking yourself whether you would click on a story (and why) before pitching it to a reporter is a good exercise.

4 Budget-Friendly PR Strategies for Small Businesses

“Behind nearly every news feature, profile or review about any company is a great public relations strategy. Take it from a reporter: You might have a great story to tell, but getting the word out — and more importantly, getting the media interested — requires some real PR know-how.”

Voce Insight – If you find yourself working for an agency that does PR for small businesses, be sure to read this article and take these tips with you. Your boutique agency will be pleased with these budget-friendly tactics. For example, suggest the agency to try a distribution service that will send your news release to many national and local journalists who might be interested to reach a large number of news outlets at once.

Career

7 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Summer Interns

“It’s summer time again, which means summer interns–the workforce boost many startups rely on. Most interns are ready and willing to learn, but we’ve all heard the horror stories about the interns that don’t work, try, or even care. But it does not have to be that way. Good management and approach can make a real difference.”

Voce Insight – While this post applies more to companies on how they should handle an internship program, it’s a good way to see what kind of things you should look for at a potential internship. You want to intern for an office that makes you feel welcome, but still keeps you challenged with the work.

A Fast-Forwarding Strategy for 2015 College Graduates

“Whether justified or not, employers are reluctant to hire those who have been jobless for more the six months — commonly referred to as the long-term unemployed. Your goal, if you haven’t found employment yet, is to avoid falling into that classification.”

Voce Insight – Everyone wants the “perfect job” immediately after graduation, but the reality of the current job market often makes that extremely difficult or even impossible. Rather than give up and spend the next few months sitting at home, expand your job search to include things that may not necessarily be the perfect fit for your major. You may be surprised at what other skills you learn, and you’re gaining valuable, real-world experience that will make you a more valid candidate for your dream job.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

June 8th, 2015

Recent Media Shifts Make Owned Channels Even More Important

Vox Media bought Re/code, which stars Walt Mossberg, Kara Swisher and a host of others and which spun off from All Things D, a Wall Street Journal-hosted blog.

GigaOm might be coming back after Knowingly recently purchased the domain name and archives of the site, though since its writers have scattered (most of them to Fortune), it’s unclear who’s going to writing new stuff.

Verizon recently bought Aol, including the latter’s portfolio of news and editorial sites, though the future of Huffington Post is reportedly up in the air as everyone figures out what they want to do and where they are or aren’t comfortable.

In short, the online media world is up for grabs and more than a little unstable. If you’re in PR, the journalist you’ve worked with for years may be gone tomorrow, either off to a new publication or completely out of a job. And, as we’ve seen, the site that has previously covered your client’s news regularly may disappear altogether with little notice.

Instability is nothing new for media. The difference these days is there’s an alternative: Owned channels.

If the constant stream of site closures, journalist changes and related activities has you unsure of how your earned media efforts are going to work it may be time to instead evaluate if what you’re doing on-domain and on managed channels is working and how you can use those to more effectively reach the audience you’re looking for.

This is not to knock in any way practices like press outreach. Even in a world of owned media channels there’s still an essential role for the outside press. But we’re moving deeper and deeper into a world where companies are getting their message out to both press and consumers directly. Our list of past and present clients is filled with examples of both.

If you want to learn how to best mix earned and owned media (along with paid and shared, of course), drop us a line.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

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