Apple News-buster Seth Weintraub on the State-of-the-scoop

Posted by on September 28, 2016 with 0 Comments
seth-weintraubjpg

Seth in Paris

I had the pleasure of meeting blogging entrepreneur Seth Weintraub over coffee last week.  My friend Adam Rothberg arranged an intro after informing me that the head of the “9to5” empire (including 9to5Mac, Google and Toys) lives in our town, Croton-on-Hudson, NY.

I was very excited to meet and speak with Seth. Sites like 9to5Mac have drawn huge audiences for years and driven Apple (and other blogs) crazy by being the first to sniff out and report on the latest developments.  Also, I am impressed by anyone who can consistently make money blogging.  This great Business Insider story from 2014 reports on Seth’s history, approach and success.

That was two years ago, and things move quickly in this field. I wanted to get Seth’s thoughts on the state of the tech news scoop, his work with PR, and trends in content consumption and distribution.

We met at the Black Cow coffee shop, a Croton institution.  Seth told me how he got started in blogging back in 2007, when he noted a lack of good Apple blogs and saw an opportunity.  Seth also spoke about his other properties, including the latest – Electrek – which covers electric cars (hah! that’s whose Tesla I’ve seen parked all over Croton).

These days they compete for stories not just with other blogs, but with major media like the WSJ and Fortune.  Read on for the Q and A:

Did you ever meet Steve Jobs? He was famously prickly with media and PR

Yes, once.

(He met Jobs briefly before starting 9to5Mac, while working at a creative agency in Soho, on a campaign involving Apple. Jobs poked his head into the office, and his only comment was to note and disparage the lone PC amidst all the Macs).

Have you ever been sued by Apple?

No, but they’ve asked me to squash stories and made threats.  Apple PR subsequently

Weintraub and friend jailbreak an iPhone

Weintraub and friend jailbreak an iPhone

blacklisted me for doing what the bigger publications would love to do. I’m no longer invited to their events.

I wrote last week that the thrill is gone in Apple product news; do you agree?

Seth (nodding): 2/3 of Apple’s revenue comes from the iPhone, and the average guy on the street isn’t as excited about the possibilities of the iPhone any longer. More people want to know what’s next. Folks are still buying them, however perhaps not as often as they have in the past.

What about Google? They’re secretive too

They are less so, and they reveal projects before they are products. Here’s an example of

Seth meets Brin and gets scoop

Seth meets Brin and gets scoop

how the companies differ: We talked about how Apple blacklisted me for revealing their products. Contrast that with Google, where I broke the news of Google Glass. Instead of blacklisting, Sergey Brin invited me to a private showing of the Glass before launch.

Has Apple stayed secretive post-Jobs?

They are trying

Is traffic diminishing as a result of more people getting news and content from social media?

We are getting more and more traffic, but from a wider disparity of sources.  People are finding us everywhere. E.g, more are coming to us via apps like FlipBoard.

What do you think about publishing on social platforms, as many media brands are doing now?

I think it is stupid to do so exclusively.  E.g. Vox gets $.25M to publish content  to Facebook exclusively.  You lose control if you do this. Facebook owns every part of the connection between you and your audience, and the revenue is their discretion

You have an entirely ad-supported business model, correct?

Yes, we use a variety of ad formats including affiliate revenue.

What about native ads?

Native ads have been a boon; they get picked up on other sites too.

(He showed an example of a recent sponsored post, and all of the 50+ places where it ran).

We sell ads as is, without guarantees. All of our partners have done really well with them and are coming back for more.

Can you describe your readership?

We cater to the technology enthusiast sector – what marketers call influencers. I think this is what attracts partnerships with product companies. Our readers are the people who fix the computers at family gatherings, recommend technology purchases for friends and family, and make buying  decisions at work.

How do you work with PR?

We honor embargoes and take briefings but we rarely do negative reviews. We’re not out to hurt the reputation, and frankly we are wasting our readers’ time if we are reviewing something we don’t like.

The biggest question is how does a blog ramp up to 1M readers? Are there that many people hanging onto every scoop? 

Our ramp-up has taken almost a decade, and frankly there’s no secret. We just try to make every day a production of interesting and entertaining information for our audiences. All of the shortcuts (buying traffic, taking venture capital, syndicating content elsewhere) might give a short term bump but won’t help in the long run.

What is the state of the tech news scoop blog? Can the market continue to support so many?

There really aren’t that many out there. Most of the blogs out there only regurgitate content from top level sites. I don’t know what the future holds to be honest, but my focus is on keeping our readers informed and entertained. As long as I can do that, I’m not worried.

ShareThis

Filed Under: Interviews, PR, PR Tech, Public Relations, Tech, Tech PR

Lessons in Tech Branding from Rock Icons

Posted by on August 23, 2016 with 0 Comments

Inspiration can come from funny places – if you are in tech marketing, perhaps you’ll like rock-2099_640the following story about branding, which offers lessons from the world of rock music.

The Music and Branding Connection

I am a big fan of podcasts, and like listening to them while jogging.  I’m also a music lover. A few years ago, I discovered Sound Opinions, a superb forum in which rock critics Greg Kot and Jim DeRagotis discuss music news, interview bands, host impromptu performances and dissect new album releases. They cover pretty much all genres of popular music, and it’s a great way to discover up-and-coming artists, niche players and forgotten classics.

After I heard their latest and ran through much of Sound Opinions’ back catalog, I was in search of another music-related podcast and stumbled upon My Favorite Album, hosted by Aussie Jeremy Dylan. He’s a music industry filmmaker and journalist who invites noted musicians into his studio to discuss records that greatly influenced them.

Recently, talented sideman Mike Bloom (who plays guitar for Julian Casablancis of The Strokes fame) was on to discuss Jimi Hendrix’s Axis Bold as Love, the classic that included the song Little Wing. This inevitably got to how Hendrix was perceived and classified.

Here’s an excerpt:

Dylan: He’s not just a raucous, incredible guitar player … It’s so far beyond that, and probably gets a little bit lost…. There is a tendency to put a reductive label or classification on any significant artist just because it’s easier…

Bloom: To brand…

Dylan: Yea… I remember reading a Taylor Swift interview when someone asked “Aren’t you pissed off all these people think you’re just some girl who just writes revenge songs about her ex-boyfriends all the time?”

She said “People are busy… Most aren’t playing that close attention.  They can only hold maybe one idea or a couple of adjectives about some celebrity they’ve never met in their head at one time.”

So with Jimi Hendrix, the version of that is… Jimi Hendrix, wild man who set his guitar on fire and played it with his teeth and behind his head, and was the loudest, most raucous electric blues rock guitar player of all time… and that’s his theme, so that’s what most people think Jimi Hendrix is.

In the same way, Paul McCartney is upbeat, silly love songs

Bob Dylan is lots of words and vaguely political stuff

Bloom: Of course everything needs to be distilled down to a way it can be consumed I guess…

Dylan: Yes, even though there’s massive contrasts, contradictions and nuances and other dynamics to their art, and them as people, but there’s the one thing, idea that most people have about then.

Similarly, tech companies have “many contrasts and nuances”. Yet the famous names conjure quick associations (e.g. Apple is the stylish design-driven leader in consumer tech. IBM, the Big Blue diversified IT tech nerd, etc).

What words do people associate with your brand?  Do you agree with them? Would you prefer other words?

Bucket, Bucket, Who’s Got the Bucket?

Of course tech is big, growing,  generally very competitive, and this makes it harder for new entrants to get recognized and build brands.  Even established companies sometimes need to rebrand. The NY Times covered this in the article When Every Company is a Tech Company does the Label Matter?  The story said that GE, an old line diversified industrial and financial services company (until recently), now wants to be known for advanced research and technology.

Doubtless, a lot of this gets to opportunism and money. Categories and labels have their own brand associations and perceived value.  The markets reward companies in hot areas like tech (and trending segments like Big Data) with higher valuations.

Within tech there are many categories and sub-categories, as mapped out by the Gartner Magic Quadrant reports.  There are many genres and sub-genres of music, too – about 1,400, according to this NY Times article The Psychology of Genre. It says:

“We listeners are endless and instinctual categorizers, allotting everything its spot like bins in a record store… Categories help us manage the torrent of information we receive and sort the world into easier-to-read patterns.”

It goes on to further describe perception vs. reality and what happens when there is a disconnect:

“This ‘categorical perception,’as it’s called, is not an innocent process: What we think we’re looking at can alter what we actually see… When we struggle to categorize something, we like it less,” due to something researchers call “cognitive disfluency.”

Does your company fit neatly into an established category? Are you disrupting an existing space or is the technology a totally new “species?”

It’s important to carefully think through these things, as there are pros and cons to just fitting in vs, trying to blaze a new trail.

Conclusion

In a noisy world, the brand is an immutable concept, shorthand that can help you be understood and recognized. But first, it needs to be known.

The branding can just happen (like your name, everyone has one) but given its importance why not decide what you want it to represent, and proactively build it?

It’s easy to get distracted, and taken in by the latest shiny new marketing toy. Writing for TechCrunch, Samuel Scott urged marketers to look past trendy concepts and embrace the cornerstones.  For example instead of focusing on content marketing, they should “practice real marketing and brand building.” Absolutely.

But what do you do when your company doesn’t fit neatly into an established category? After all, isn’t technology constantly changing, rendering segments obsolete and spawning new ones (Facebook’s motto is “move fast and break things”)?

I include a couple of my earlier posts, on this topic below, and welcome a conversation with you about this – please comment or click here to learn more.

Assume the Positioning: Words that work in Tech PR

Cracking the Quadrant: Confessions of a Former Gartner Analyst

ShareThis

Filed Under: Branding, Fun Stuff, PR, Public Relations

Huffington Goes Viral with Data Science – You can Too

Posted by on August 9, 2016 with 0 Comments
Cross posted on Hack the Feed

My recent posts have explored how publishers are working with social platforms to expand audience and IMG_2875adapt story telling formats (see Publishers & Platforms In a Relationship, and Platforms as Publishers: 6 Key Takeaways for Brands). They reported the experiences of social teams and editors at some of the largest broadcast, print daily and native web outlets.

Those featured, however, didn’t go into detail on the role of advertising to boost reach.

At last week’s NY Data Science Meetup (at Metis NYC) we learned how the Huffington Post, the largest social publisher, is using data science to better understand which articles can benefit from a promotional push. Their efforts have propelled merely popular stories into through-the-roof viral successes.

The meetup was about Data Science in the Newsroom. Geetu Ambwani, Principal Data Scientist at Huffington Post, recalled the days when their editors monitored searches trending on Google to inform content creation and curation. Since then it is a new game, as more people are discovering and consuming news through social media.

In an age of distributed news, HuffPo needed a new approach.

Data across the Content Life Cycle

Geetu discussed the role of data in the content life cycle spanning creation, distribution and consumption. For creation, there are tools to discover trends, enhance and optimize content, and flag sensitive topics. Their RobinHood platform improves image usage and the all-important headline.

Geetu’s favorite part, she said, was exploring the “content gap” between what they write and what people want to read. It’s a tension that must be carefully considered – otherwise writers might be tempted to focus on fluff pieces vs. important news stories.

When it comes to consumption, data can be used to improve the user experience – e.g. via recommendations and personalization.

Project Fortune Teller: Data Predict Viral Success

Geetu and her team turned to data science to help with distribution. “The social networks are the new home page – we need to be where the audience is,” she said.

Only a small percentage of their stories get significant page views on the web. Performance on social often varies by platform. The team honed the content mix for each to improve engagement. Part of this was determining which articles out of the 1000 daily stories should get an extra boost.

Geetu wondered if they could mine data to spot the ones that have “legs” beyond early popularity. With this info in hand, they could promote these with high value ads, and populate Trending Now and Recommendation widgets to further boost sharing and reach.

And thus , Project Fortune Teller was born. The team looked for winners according to a range of data such as web traffic growth, and social consumption and sharing. But it was no easy task. There are many variables to consider. They needed to determine the optimal time window, as some articles take a bit longer to start to trend. Finally, they intentionally excluded hot news stories, instead focusing on evergreen content that was resonating.

Geetu and her team mined historical data, using time series analysis to build a model (for more details, see this SlideShare presentation). They notified the content promotion staff when there was a likely winner. The resulting quick action turned popular articles into viral successes.

Do you want to achieve data-driven content marketing success?  Click here to find out how.

ShareThis

Filed Under: PR, PR Tech, Public Relations, Reading Files, Social Media, Technology

Israeli Startups Join Axis Innovation at NYSE

Posted by on June 27, 2016 with 0 Comments

I had the great pleasure of attending an event hosted by Axis Innovation this IMG_2843morning at the NYSE.  It featured presentations from nine hot Israeli startups and culminated in a visit to the floor of the exchange, where we watched the opening bell ceremony.

Axis is an advisory firm that connects investors and corporations with tech startups. The event was part of a road show to investors, and one of many that Axis hosts in  cities around the world.  The company is based in Tel Aviv, and also operates in NYC.

According to their website, the NYSE session front-ended a  two day event that includes “leading Israeli series A tech startups and US VCs, angels, and corporate investors… to develop business opportunities and ultimately make deals.”

Below I share highlights of each presenting company.

Datomia

They redefine how data is stored and transferred in the cloud, to maximize security and throughput.

Eco-Fusion

Eco-Fusion’s app personalizes digital medicine to assist in preventing and managing chronic diseases.

Fringefy

They’re developing the next generation of visual search for mobile and connected devices with advanced computer vision tech.

Medivizor

They are an antidote to our tendency to consult “Dr. Google” – Medivizor tailors personal health info and updates, based on the specific of each medical situation in an easily understandable and actionable way.

Optibus

Optibus enables a better public transportation system through efficient and real-time scheduling and control.  It dovetails nicely with trends like urbanization and self-driving vehicles.

Pocket Cause

Pocket Cause makes it easy to donate from your mobile device, and integrates with charitable websites. They are seeking to disrupt and improve the $26B online donation industry.

PrivatEquity.biz

It’s a global online platform where investors can access the securities of pre-IPO companies from employees, former employees, founders and other shareholders.

ScanTask

They have developed a field-proven Saas agronomic platform that mitigates agricultural risks and improves farmer profits while giving corporations, governments and FIs ways to track and benchmark remote growers.

SecBI

Unsupervised machine learning tech that outwits the hackers and mimics an expert cybersecurity analyst. SecBI reduces breach response time and optimizes mitigation.

The Catholic Charities rang the opening bell; in a bit of gallows humor, one person wondered aloud whether last rites or a sermon might be more appropriate, given the concerns about the markets’ continued reaction to the Brexit vote.

ShareThis

Filed Under: events, NY Tech, PR, PR Tech, Public Relations, Uncategorized

Fusion’s Favorite Mobile Apps of 2014

Posted by on May 16, 2016 with 0 Comments

We surveyed our team about their mobile app use, asking everyone to pick their top three (intentionally excluding client apps from consideration).

It was a fun exercise, as there was much variety in the answers (no one picked the same ones, in fact there was very little overlap) and I learned about a few new apps in the process.

I also learned about new uses for existing apps, and more about the interests of some of our team members. Some were surprising – I did not know that Nicole is a sports nut, Annie loves podcasts, and Mark wakes up with a different ring tone every day!

Here are a few takeaways:

  • Several listed WhatsApp
  • Unsurprisingly, some of the L.A. team’s choices relate to auto navigation (Waze, Google Maps)
  • Other apps were for navigating issues in daily life, e.g. a restaurant/bar tab splitter, food delivery app and Bible verses
  • Quite a few related to media: e.g. Flipboard, Spotify (who knew that you can use it to learn a new language?), Zedge, SoundHound, and Shazam.
  • Many of the apps were for communications, social media and food/entertainment/travel

Please see below for the responses from some of the team members:

Annie

  • Waze is my lifeline for getting through tricky L.A. traffic during rush hour
  • Stitcher has all of my favorite podcasts to keep me entertained (and sane) while maneuvering through LA traffic
  • Postmates, a great food delivery app

Sara

  • Flipboard is my go-to news source
  • Tab is a great to help with splitting the bill between friends
  • Spotify stores my favorite albums, artists and songs plus you can learn a new language or choose a playlist depending on your mood.

Mark

  • Zedge lets me download a ton of ringtones so I can wake up to a different song every day
  • Timehop shows me what I posted on Facebook on this date for the past five years. It’s fun to revisit my recent past
  • Soundhound and Shazam – when I hear a song that interests me, I open one of these apps and hold my phone up in the air… ten seconds later, I know what song it is, who it’s by – and sometimes even how bad the lyrics are.

Fehmida

  • Google Maps: Probably the one and only app I would be completely lost without
  • Snapchat: a fun and easy way for me to stay in touch with friends and family… it also helps perfect my caption and finger drawing skills.
  • WhatsApp: I use this app exclusively for group conversations; it is a great platform when making plans.

Nicole

  • The Bible app provides a daily verse, it is a great, positive way to start my day and gets some motivation going
  • Bleacher Report notifies me whenever there’s news about all the sports teams I follow and my favorite players… it incorporates social media buzz about topics related to these teams and players as well.
  • Echofon is a lot better than the Twitter app for Droid… It syncs with the Echofon app for Mac

Laura

  • Waze: I’m not sure I could handle Los Angeles driving without this app that I use at least twice a day every single day.
  • Yelp: Since I moved to a new city, I haven’t had a bad meal or service experience, and it’s all because of this app!
  • Mobile Banking Apps: I can deposit checks, transfer money, and pay my bills from wherever I am

Bob

  • Facebook, Twitter and then a tie between LinkedIn and Evernote (the latter for note taking).
  • Buffer App for scheduling Tweets

Chris

  • Google Wallet
  • White Noise – Perfect for travelers
  • Google Voice

Ross

  • Spotify
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Fantasy Football (5 months out of the year)

Nirav

  • Instagram
  • Newsstand – WSJ App
  • WhatsApp
ShareThis

Filed Under: Fusion Culture

Secret to Creativity? Ditch the Phone! Get Bored!

Posted by on May 16, 2016 with 0 Comments

Cell phones have been blamed for everything from frying our brains, to shortening attention spans and making us stupid. But new research shows that the biggest threat may be to our creativity.  It should especially be of interest to people in creative and info-driven fields like marketing, journalism and PR.

The NY Times Op Ed Smartphones Don’t Make us Dumb challenges conventional wisdom:

“…there’s little evidence that attention spans are shrinking…  a significant deterioration would require a retrofitting of other cognitive functions. Mental reorganization at that scale happens over evolutionary time, not because you got a smartphone.”

However, that doesn’t mean the devices can’t pose other challenges – here’s another excerpt:

“Over the last decade, neuroscientists distinguished two systems of attention and associated thought. One is directed outward, as when you scroll through your email or play Candy Crush. The other is directed inward, as when you daydream, plan what you’ll do tomorrow, or reflect on the past. Clearly, most digital activities call for outwardly directed attention. These two modes of attention work like a toggle switch; when one is on, the other is off.”

The article notes the important role of daydreaming in creativity (although there can be downsides, like negative thoughts and distraction).

Similar ground is now being covered in WNYC’s Bored and Brilliant project.  The station’s New Tech City podcaster Manoush Zomorodi began her January 12th show, The Case for Boredom, by pondering:

“Since 2008, when I first got a smartphone – I have never had to be bored. The phone has invaded every moment of my life.  Am I missing out on something by not being bored anymore?”

Over fifteen minutes, she interviews researchers in fields of mind wandering and boredom (who knew there were such specialties?!!). One said “creativity and daydreaming are peas in a pod,” and another complained that the phone is “like an annoying detachable limb.”

The WNYC project challenges us to rethink the relationship with our phones and get more creative.  You can participate by signing up here, and downloading an app that helps you track the time you spend on your phone.

 

 

 

ShareThis

Filed Under: PR, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology

Find and Fill Open Spaces to Connect with Customers

Posted by on May 16, 2016 with 0 Comments

While watching my kids play soccer years ago, I often heard the coach yell “Open Spaces! Pass to space!”

The instructions might not make sense, but on the playing field they were obvious: the coach was imploring the team to pass the ball to an area that was unoccupied by defenders.

Marketers of today can learn a thing or two from this philosophy. For as long as I can remember, companies have been told that they need to find ways to “break through the clutter” and “rise above the noise.” This generally involved brute force – “talking” louder, or more persistently – ideally in combination with clever campaigns.

But today’s hyper-noisy world demands new metaphors and strategies. In a crowded field, it is much better to find an area where there are no defenders. Said another way, instead of trying to compete with the din, and punch your way through, why not find and fill an open space?

There are many practical ways to market to open spaces. The beauty is that you can use these tactics individually, or combine them for even better results.

Please see below for the first tip, and I will share others in my next post.

Communicate Clearly when others are Confusing

Most industries have their own language. Using the acronyms, buzzwords and slang identifies you as a member of the club, an insider who is smart about the business.  It can serve as shorthand and streamline communications. However, jargon run amuck – when used by marketers, who have no actual experience with the product or industry – can be confusing.

For example, the tech world is famous for geek-speak. Just try reading press releases in B2B and IT tech and you will see what I mean – it can be tough to understand what the products actually do, and who benefits, even if you are a techie. This dense landscape of impenetrable prose leaves an open space for those who can relate more clearly and powerfully.

How can you fill the space? Replace all those “purpose builts”, “scale outs”, “seamlesses” and “end-to-ends” with words that actually mean something – and sentences and phrases that connect with the intended audiences.

It may sound easy but it isn’t – doing this right means knowing what you’re talking about, either from first-hand experience, or by tapping the knowledge of someone who is close to a space and ideally has been a user or implementer of similar solutions.

Do it well and you will not only hit the bulls eye when it comes to getting on the radars of prospects – you will also likely reach a wider audience via approachable language.  My Words that Work in Tech PR series goes into more detail about this tactic.

To learn more about how you can market to open spaces, please visit this page.

ShareThis

Filed Under: Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology

Confessions of A Foreign PR Student

Posted by on May 16, 2016 with 0 Comments

By Carmen Ren

We all know that in order to communicate effectively, PR practitioners need to understand the public well. In the multi-cultural context, this can be several times more challenging. (To me, it is also fascinating!) The efforts to understand our stakeholders from a foreign culture go way beyond overcoming language issues.

As a PR student who came to the United States for the first time 14 months ago, I was daunted by the challenge of using English to listen, express, learn, think, and “try to be a New Yorker”. I was overwhelmed by obstacles on various levels –

  • Both verbal and written communications are basic and indispensable parts of PR practices. It was challenging for me to write in English and ensure its quality;
  • Public Relations practices (or simply communication) will not work without context. It was VERY challenging for me to catch up with the social and cultural context so that I could at least join the conversation without looking clueless. (e.g. I didn’t know what the terms Stop-and-Frisk, and Cyber Monday, among others, were.)
  • Public Relations governance (and again, communication as well) will not succeed without understanding and aligning different values of various constituents. As a foreigner, it is absolutely challenging for me to grasp the essence of American thinking and therefore make sense of their judgments and behaviors.

Understanding and aligning different values is the biggest obstacle, for me and, I believe, for most PR professionals who have the ambition to operate in a different culture.

Here is an anecdote: a friend from Philly once asked me when comparing Philly to New York City, “How do your Chinese friends conceive Philadelphia? Say, more left and more right?” I didn’t know how to answer, since I don’t usually use “left or right” to describe a city. In fact, the whole dimension of “left and right” does not exist in the way we view our cities. “The Philadelphia question” reminds me of how political culture is deeply rooted in an American mindset.

In contrast to the American politically-rooted mindset, in modern China, we are raised in a culture where civic engagement is not encouraged and political discussion is alien to the mass. The reasons for it are plenty and complex. To me, the most obvious ones are lack of incentives and empowerment — When you know what you say will not matter and will not change anything [1], why bother to devote your efforts? When schools don’t educate students to challenge the authority, and to think critically, how can they be equipped to participate in civic engagements?

In this specific case, what does this “weak muscle” of critical thinking in China mean to communicators or PR pros? To name some, will the public be more vulnerable to rumors and smear campaigns because they are not used to making efforts to find the truth? Will this further influence their information gathering habits and problem solving approaches regarding rumors, or even information at large?

These issues are critical for PR pros because they are a part of the “listening process (public audit)”. This “listening process” is labor-intensive and complex indeed, especially when the context of our stakeholders never stops changing. For a leader who has ambition to set foot in another country, this task cannot be accomplished by simply reading a few books about another country, at least not enough for PR pros. A good multicultural PR pro should be a lifelong “anthropologist”, who diligently listens, observes, and therefore is able to impersonate and communicate [2]. (Silver lining: we have big data to support the continuous listening process.)

I’d like to wrap it up with an analogy– Practicing PR in a foreign land is no less challenging than being in a relationship with a foreigner. First you should be able to communicate in his/her language. And then you make better sense by understanding his/her background and personal history in factual details. But not until you understand “the significant other” on a psychological and even metaphysical level, will you win his/her heart and soul– in PR, this translates to trust, intimacy and a sustainable relationship.

———

[1] Professor James E. Grunig developed a Situational Theory of Publics to explain and predict why some publics are active and others are passive. To explore this subject further, see http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/public-relations/s08-02-the-situational-theory-of-publ.html
[2] For more discussion about “generic principles and specific applications in public relations” (Falconi), see http://www.prconversations.com/index.php/2013/04/generic-principles-and-specific-applications-in-public-relations/

ShareThis

Filed Under: Public Relations

Hannah and Her Sister Disrupt PR with Babbler

Posted by on May 12, 2016 with 0 Comments

We started getting calls and emails from an interesting French startup called Babbler a couple of months ago. I agreed to meet with CEO Hannah Oiknine to learn more, as we like to be on top of the latest developments  here at Fusion PR.

She explained the system, which turns the traditional model of media relations on its 20160502183906-hannah-oiknine-sarah-azanhead. Rather than assume that media are the quarry, to be hounded by PR, Babbler envisions that press will gladly opt in and connect with brand content online.

It seemed like a bold bet. But I was taken by Hannah’s enthusiasm, and the demo was impressive. They’re funded, have built a solid team, and a growing user base in Europe. Babbler now has their eyes on the US market, and recently opened a New York office.

I agreed to take a closer look but got caught up in other priorities. Then, I saw the following headline just the other week: “2 Sisters Raise $2M to disrupt PR Industry.”  The news was about more funding for Babbler. It reminded me of the meeting and the inspiration for the system, which sprang from the experiences of Hannah’s sister Sarah Azan (the one on the left), who comes from a PR background. It prompted me to revisit Babbler and gave me the idea for the title of the post, based on the Woody Allen movie.

So I got back in touch with Hannah and conducted the following email interview.

What is Babbler?

Babbler rethinks the way companies interact with the press to help them be more successful. We created the only opt-in social media network that lets media and PR pros instantly share news, content and messages in a single platform.  We have a matchmaking algorithm that connects brands with the most relevant reporters.

Babbler is focused on providing the best engagement tool in the world. By moving PR out of the inbox and into a conversation-driven platform, we are helping journalists and PR professionals connect and engage in a meaningful way.

We back this up with powerful reports and analytics, giving your brand the actionable insight to improve your PR Strategy.

Thinking “out of the inbox” does sound interesting, but can you really say that the service disrupts PR?

Today, the only channel of daily interactions between PR pros and influencers is emails of reporters turned public and accessible by anyone who pays for a media database service. The consequences are that:

  • Reporters receive hundreds of email pitches / day, and 90% of them don’t match their interests or coverage areas.
  • It is hard to engage them, and they answer only 1% of what they receive.
  • PR pros spend hours filtering lists and updating them, time that could be used to create engaging stories.
  • PR pros are seen as pushy rather than effective sources.
  • It’s way too impersonal and mostly irrelevant!

By getting out of the inbox, we simplify interaction, provide a sourcing tool for reporters and the best distribution and engagement tool for PR pros that allow them to create, entertain and engage media communities in a single place.

Also, by knowing what engages media communities, PR pros can focus on creating relevant stories for each one they target. Because media don’t all want to same content or to be pitched the same way.

Why will journalists opt in? Don’t they already have access to lots of content, and PR connections ?

Reporters love Babbler for several reasons. Existing channels don’t solve the problem; emails are not opened or targeted, B2C social networks are not dedicated to PR / media pros and don’t allow you to build conversations exclusively with the press, exchange files or measure the press engagement.

With Babbler, the press can choose to follow PR pros/ brands/ agencies they are interested in, ONLY. For free, 24/7.

But they can also request information, download files they need or directly chat if they have questions. We built dedicated features for both communications and media pros to help them communicate in a smarter way. For example, reporters can post a PR request or book an interview in just one click!

ShareThis

Filed Under: PR Tech, Public Relations, Tech, Tech PR

Social Tools Summit Cheat Sheet

Posted by on April 18, 2016 with 0 Comments

Seven sessions. Two trender chats. A great keynote, product speed case, and best of all the STSummit16.jpg largechance to meet and learn from very smart social media consultants, practitioners and technology innovators.

There simply is no substitute for being at Social Tools Summit (well, accessing the live stream was the next best thing).  You could search the #SocialTools16 hash tag and read through the thousands of tweets – I suggest that you do, if you didn’t attend or see the live stream.  The tweets feature tons of great advice, links to resources, running commentary on the day’s activities – and of course lots of social tools talk.

If you are pressed for time, you could just read this post.  I have attempted to capture the highlights, by curating top tweets under each session, and sharing other details.

Check out the Storify wrap, below.  I also want to thank Neal Schaffer and Brian Mahony for inviting me back this year, and to their stellar team for organizing the event (you could call them the A team, as most of the names starts with A, including two Andreas; and let’s face, it they are an A team).

Also, I thank the great panel that assisted with my influencer marketing session: Lina Roque, CA Technologies (congrats for winning a Social Guru award!), Chandra Carson, Lindt & Sprungli, Eric Dahan, InstaBrand, Ryan Connors, Century Bank, Wayne Kurtzman, Pitney Bowes and Jannette Pazer, DragonSearch.

Awards

Keynote on Scaling Innovation

Here is a link to Christopher Penn’s keynote on scaling innovation.

Other Summaries

SoTrender has a nice wrap of the event.  Paul Gillin mentioned it in his Silicon Angle piece about social selling.  Also, see Red Javelin’s 8 Social media Takeaways from the Social Tools Summit 2016 – Boston.

 

 

ShareThis

Filed Under: Agency news, events, PR Tech, Social Media