From the Intern’s Point of View: Six Tips to Finding Bloggers

Last Friday marked the first month of my internship at CMD. I get the opportunity work on excellent projects, doing awesome things and with some pretty cool people. Much of my time is devoted to research.

More specifically, I spend much of my time finding influential bloggers.

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Although most of the hype these days is around micro blog sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ etc), the blogosphere is one of the most loyal and active communities. Look at the mommy blogger community and you will see what I mean.

Finding a specific demographic of bloggers proves to be one of the most difficult facets of blog research. Here are some tips I came across while trying to find industry influencing bloggers.

The Tips

Micro blogging: The majority of the tweets that come through my feed are links to articles or blogs. This is why micro blogging is usually a great place to start. Depending on the industry you are looking for, social media sites have influencers from all walks of life. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+’s search engines crawl through hundreds of millions of profiles for key words and phrases. Generally the search engine will show the top profiles with those key words in them. These are your influencers.

Blog Roll: Blog rolls are links to profiles and websites that the creator finds helpful. Once you’ve found one influencer, search through their blog roll to see if they have more stellar contacts. This can fill up your list of influential bloggers before you know it.

Company Websites and Blogs: Why not start at the top? Contributors to the industry are always influencers. For example, if you are looking for influential car bloggers, why not start at Ford and work your way down? Most companies these days have blogs on their own websites, and with the new understanding of transparency, most blogs reveal their author. If you take it one step further, you realize that these authors are industry influencers, so you can Google their names and see if they have personal blogs as well. Chances are they do and you’ve found yourself an excellent contact.

Good ‘ole Fashion News: Most news sites have opinion writers and bloggers. These writers are well versed in their specific fields and generally have a large local following. So what does this mean to you? Yes, you have yourself an influencer.

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Analysis Tools: Influential people are influential because they know what they’re talking about and they can be found. Search engine optimization is the key tactic to be discovered in the Internet world. This way of finding bloggers is a little more time intensive. First think of key words that these bloggers might use, and enter them into sites like Google Analytics, Google Trends and Google Adwords. These tools will help you figure out if your words are on the right track. Once you make a short list of high traffic key words, enter them into Radian 6, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Blogs to see who pops up.

Google: Google has several tools to help you find your influential bloggers and my two favorites are Google Blogs and Google Reader. Google Blogs is a search engine that functions almost exactly like the regular search engine, but it only searches blogs– simple enough right? With the words you found by using the analysis tools and the Google search punctuation, you can find bloggers in any industry.

Hopefully some of these you’ve never thought to try, and I hope they work if you do choose to try them. They’ve helped me along the way.

Please let me know what you think and comment if you have any other tips.

Posted in google reader, Research, Social Media, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

It Has Been A While, and I’m Back! Well Soon!

I know it has been a while since my last post, and it goes against everything I have read, heard and learned about using social media. So I’m sorry I have been non-existent.

I am just finishing up my college career and life is hectic to say the least!

More blogs are soon to come, so please check back or look out for Twitter and LinkedIn updates!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is it Possible to be an Upper-Level Intern?

As an intern for The Scene Marketing Group, I get to do more than most interns I know. They give me responsibilities that cover everything from social media management to writing press releases, doing design work to creating entire public relations plans to pitch to clients.

That’s right.

I. Jesse Davis. Intern. Get to help research, plan and create public relations campaigns for new clients or new campaigns.

I would have never guessed I would get to do so much as an intern. Before I joined the Portland Senior Experience, I imagined being an intern would be shuffling papers, getting coffee and maybe once or twice I would get to help read and edit press releases.

The reality is nothing like my imagined intern life. Everyday, I write press releases, media pitches, social media editorials, website content and every other type of traditional public relations work. I design collateral and help edit and provide suggestions for everything, and attend and contribute to client meetings. I research demographics, pull Cision lists and make calls to companies my clients want to work with and persuade them to join in. I do anything and everything you could possibly think of that most upper-level employees get to do.

Am I trying to brag?

No, I’m not, but after thinking about all the things I have done in this term, I thought is it possible to be an upper-level intern? I’m doing things an account executive and sometimes even an account supervisor gets to do.

Nearing the end of the term, my college career and my internship, I look back and am surprised, happy and thankful that I had the opportunity to join The Scene Marketing Group and the Portland Senior Experience.

For any sophomores, juniors or even seniors, do anything you can to get an internship. I know everyone tells you to get one, but you will be surprised how fast you pick things up and how far ahead of the pack you will be.

Thank you for reading!

Posted in Internship, Public Relations, Social Media, Video Production, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

5 Video Interviewing Tips to Help Your Editing

It may not be traditional public relations, but video production and more importantly video interviewing are great skills to know.  My campaigns class client happens to be the Portland Senior Experience, and we are creating videos of past PDXSX’ers.

This project made me realize just how helpful the video editing classes in the School of Journalism and Communication sequence really were. So, here are some tips to video interviewing that will make the editing process a breeze:

Positioning: When you position your interview subject, make sure they are on either the left or right third of the frame, and position yourself in the opposite side of the camera. For instance, if your interviewee is on the left third of the frame, you should be sitting on the right side of your camera. This will give the impression that the interviewee is looking toward the camera, but not into the camera.

Questioning within the answer: This tip is one of the best ones to help your editing process. Prior to the start of the interview, first ask the interviewee to somehow restate the question within the answer. Usually you will have to ask them again about half way through the interview because they start feeling comfortable and begin speaking casually. If they can manage to do this, your editing will be really easy because you won’t have to put in some transition saying what the subject is about to talk about. Instead, they will know because the interviewee tells them.

            Slow and steady wins the race: This is one of the most difficult requests for interviewee’s to follow. As soon as the camera light is on, they get nervous and become the next Eminem and rap what they’re saying. Although, if you could throw a good beat in, it might be an interesting interview. Ask them to slow it down, speak up and take their time. Nothing is worse than an interviewer that speaks to quickly and mumbles.

Give it up ahead of time: Most people aren’t able to think up good information on the spot, especially when a camera is in their face. The best way to get good information during a video interview is to give them the questions in advance. Some may say, “what about the spur of the moment babble that we all love?” Sure on the spot babble can have good results sometimes, and generally you’re not so lucky. Give the questions to them ahead of time so they have time to think and give a quality, well thought-out answer. If you’re really looking for the off-the-cuff answer, at the end ask them if they have anything else they want to share that you may have forgotten or missed. This will throw them through a loop and you can still have a chance to get your spur of the moment babble.

Just pause: At the end of your interviewee’s answer, don’t say anything and pause for a second or two. No one likes silence and most people will feel they need to fill the void, so they continue talking and that is where you get the best information.

I hope these little tips help. If you have any more ideas, please feel free to comment!

Thank you for reading.

Posted in communication, Social Media, Strategy, Technology, Video Production | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Understanding ROI in 6 Steps – Communicators Conference 2011

Last Wednesday (I know this is beginning to be less timely) I attended the PRSA Communicators Conference at the Governor Hotel. The conference was filled with great PR pros to talk to, listen to and learn from. My personal favorite speaker was Katie Delahaye Paine on the dreaded word that we all know but don’t know how to get – ROI.

Other than the fact that she was interesting and fun to listen to, the information and tips she gave the conference was amazing. Delahaye Paine broke finding ROI into six steps:

  1. Define R in ROI: You must know what kind of return you are looking for. If you are a small nonprofit looking to feed 55 homeless and you need volunteers and donations, you don’t need 60,000 “likes” on your Facebook page. Instead, you want to get the 150 right people. So, your return shouldn’t be increase Facebook “likes” to 60,000, but to contact the correct 150 people that will actually be able and willing to help out your cause.
  2. Define the I in ROI: Before creating a campaign pre-planning must take place. This means you know how much money, time and and everything else you will need to make the campaign successful. The logistical value of what goes into making a campaign decides your “I” of ROI. Whether it is a $3 million, 65 hour campaign that uses all of your assets and the whole company’s well-being is on the line, or it’s a much less aggressive campaign, you need to know how much you are investing in the project.
  3. Establish benchmarks: Setting benchmarks are key to keeping on track in a campaign. Without benchmarks you could easily fall short and you wouldn’t know until the end. Benchmarks allow you to adjust during the campaign to create the best possible outcome.
  4. Define your metrics: This to me is the hardest point. There are countless articles talking about what are good metrics and bad metrics, and now we have the Barcelona Principle that goes even further to help find real, usable beneficial metrics. For example, impression counts don’t mean there are actual eye balls reading your ad, it only means that the page with the ad on it was opened that many times. Delahaye Paine had a chart on her slides that showed the different levels of engagement from the worst to the best. It goes something like this: Impressions are the worst, repeat visitors, followers, comments etc., then retweets and shares, registration on a site, and finally trial purchases. Shoot for the trial purchase side of the spectrum to measure quality engagement with the consumers.
  5. Pick a tool: How are you going to measure the success of the campaign? Delahaye Paine suggested a “kick butt index” (KBI). She suggests that you have a scale from negative ten to positive ten, and if a comment or retweet was positive it goes on the positive side and the opposite if there is a negative comment. In the end you add up the score of everything that happened and you crunch the numbers. If the result is positive, the campaign’s a success, if it’s negative then it’s back to the drawing board.
  6. Find the result, change and measure again: This is the most crucial part of any campaign because at this point you have done the experiment and now you can measure the results, and change your tactic for the next time. This last step ensures that the next campaign will be better than the last because you have done the research, seen what happened and can change the result.

I hope this helps, and if you have any comments, ideas, or rants please feel free to comment.

Posted in Client Relations, Measurement, Public Relations, Social Media, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Event Planner Extraordinaire Make Events Look Easy

From my experience, many aspiring public relations students want to venture into event planning. I never really thought of what it means to be an event planner and furthermore, I never realized how difficult it really is.

I never understood what it takes to put on a well planned event. As embarrassing as it is, my image of event planners comes from the movies. I have no experience in event planning, and the only real experience I have with events is doing odd jobs for the event planner to help it go smoothly.

Thanks to my internship at The Scene Marketing Group, this last weekend I had a chance to see the final product of a well planned event. The Scene Marketing Group‘s Rindi Zavodsky, event planner extraordinaire, was in the middle of the detailed planning for Mountains to Metro, a nonprofit event for the Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge AVA wineries, when I began at The Scene Marketing Group.

Being around Zavodsky in the office I listened and was kept up-to-date on all the details of the event. This is where my image of event planning quickly turned the corner.

Zavodsky managed hundreds of people, made thousands of calls and worked countless hours to complete this event. She had to think of everything from the garbage and photography to finding the disc jockey, restaurants and site. She managed the social media, the ticket service, printing and everything else you could possible think of.

At the day of the event, I found it incredible that after all of her planning, the Mountains to Metro last Friday seemed as if it was running itself. It was amazing to see it all come together and that ninety percent of the event was in the planning, and the last ten percent was the event itself. There were a few minor hitches, but Zavodsky quickly saw the issue, found the solution and made the change.

After Mountains to Metro I have a new found image for event planners. To be able to think of everything you will need months in advance, and then have everything run the way you thought it would be is an incredible skill to have.

Although extremely stressful, the rewards of seeing your event run smoothly and have guests openly approve  has to be an amazing feeling.

If you have any advice, comments or thoughts about Mountains to Metro, event planning or anything else you want to chat about, please feel free to comment.

Thank you for reading.

Posted in communication, Companies, Public Relations, Social Media, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Jargon-Filled Writing Be Gone With You!

Todd Defren’s blog is used on a regular basis in this blog. If this bugs you please let me know, otherwise read on because he has done it again with another great post.

In Defren’s, head honcho of SHIFT Communication, last post to his blog PR Squared he writes about how public relations writing is filled with jargon terms that we should avoid. He said, “So many of the words we use to make plain English sound more exciting wind up sucking the life out of written expression.”

Now that I am in an internship at The Scene Marketing Group where I am doing real life writing work, I realized I write in a more confusing way when I use jargon terms just to look like I know what I’m talking about. Readers are happy when their literature is easy to read without a lot of jargon fluff.

This can contribute to reporters reading your press release because it’s quick, email blasts actually being opened because the subject line doesn’t confuse them even more, and social media followers won’t hit the “unlike” button because they are tired of seeing words that don’t need to be in a sentence like show-stopper, face time or learnings.

So how do we combat the jargon-filled writing debacle?

Defren provides the answer with a website called Unsuck-It. The website takes the words like the ones above and transforms them into plain, easy-to-read language. Check it out:

Jargon Word                               Unsucked Word

Show Stopper                             Serious problem or cause for delay.

Face Time                                    Conversation or meeting.

Learnings                                    A lesson or new information.

Computer Jargon Bingo

Unsuck-It is helpful, hilarious and somewhat risque, so viewers be warned.

In conclusion,  Defren brings up the point that jargon-filled writing is difficult to read and can make your audience less likely to continue reading. Whether it is readers for your personal blog, social media or content from your business, lets help each other out and use some plain language.

Do you have any other ideas or examples of how to avoid jargon? Please feel free to comment!

Thanks for reading.

Posted in Client Relations, communication, Companies, Public Relations, Strategy, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Which Press Release Outlet Works Best for You?

Last Friday I was told some great advice for writing press releases. Think like a reporter. Put the most newsworthy information first. Reporters do not have time to read a full release, so give them the goods within the first two sentences. Although this idea has been drilled into my head since I entered the School of Journalism and Communication, I finally realized how important this is. This tip becomes even more important now that there are less news media folks in the world today.

We as public relations practitioners are essentially working against each other to gain the attention of the news outlets we are trying to reach. The competition is steep and we are all trying to find different ways of gaining coverage.

There are email sites, press release wires, social media releases, email blasts and countless other connections to the media but which one works best for you? Which outlet creates do reporters respond to more?

Please feel free to comment if you have any suggestions. Thanks for reading.

Posted in Public Relations, Strategy, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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Twitter is Just Conversation

There are over 200 million Twitter accounts. This number is huge. There are over 200 million potential eyes on your company. This is awesome. This also means there are over 200 million other people competing for the same space. This is potentially problematic.

Among the 200 million Twitter accounts, how can you possibly expect to break through the clutter and build your following?

Well, I read a great blog post by Erica Swallow that looks to answer that very question. Swallow’s ideas are simple, straightforward and proven to boost your following. Her five steps are get visual, get physical, get personal, get inspired and get smart.

If you think about it, these are just the tools to communicating with others. In normal everyday conversation you talk about things you’ve seen, places you’ve been, tell stories you’ve heard from other people and teach others what you know.

This all seems very obvious but if you look at many of the company Twitter handles out there you realize they are all speaking with a corporate voice. Everything is my company this and our product does this, but what they forget is that the power of social media is the open conversation between the company and its customers.

Companies began changing their social media strategies, but many are hurting their own chances of their potential publics.

Just have conversation because that is what social media is all about.

Posted in Companies, Public Relations, Social Media, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments