Category Archives: web 2.0

Marketing One Woman’s Vengeance

I’ve slowed down with my higher ed marketing posts because marketing my second novel, One Woman’s Vengeance has been so all-consuming.
I made a decision 10 years ago that I would not go with the  tiresome, good-old-boy 19th century rejection slip model of trying to find an agent who would then try to find a publisher while watching your life pass in this anachronistic,  dying game.
So I talked to writer friends,  did my own research and finally decided upon Lulu. I had published The Perfect Song (pseudonym Damon) with iUniverse in 2004 and was  happy with their process, with the exception of the cover, and that’s a whole post in itself.
Lulu offered more freedom (again, maybe another post for those interested in publishing).
I found a cover artist  and it was worth every penny of his price (another post!)
We had a couple technical glitches and I give Lulu high marks for helping work through them, though all communications had to be through chat.  Once Vengeance was published I found myself standing in the world of social media marketing, surprised that it seemed so vast and new.
Understand that when I published The Perfect Song, Facebook was barely a DNA sample and such sites as Goodreads did not exist. Amazon was the 800-pound gorilla but it wasn’t yet the ubiquitous force that it is now. Social media marketing was barely out of diapers.
And (most importantly) the  e-books industry was just inching onto  the radar with the general reading public.
I paid a designer to create a website for The Perfect Song and did all the things the experts at the time said you should do. I look at it now as a creaky structure whose owner had good intentions.  With Vengeance, I created my own site with WordPress, which I use for all four of my blogs.
I should note that as the PR director at Mansfield University I have worked hard over the years to stay, if not ahead of the curve, at least on it, as far as social media and marketing.
We were among the first  to use podcasting in recruiting and other areas of promotion.  I jumped on Animoto and other forms of social media promotion.
But now, with One Woman’s Vengeance, I was on my own, confused and naive.

I took a step forward, feeling like Frodo, moving into a strange, vast land where the shifting mists constantly keep you off balance and just a little directionless.


Next:  Nora Hawks watched her husband get murdered, and lived through an ultra-violent  near fatal gang rape.  Can she now survive the grueling gauntlet social media?


Putting The Public Back in Public Relations: Part 2

I enter part two of the review of Putting the Public Back in Public Relations reminding you that I think the book  is  valuable.

Putting the Public neatly summarizes the demise of the traditional media and the rise of the social media and PR 2.0.

It’s  ironic that the authors understand and capture  well the new media and the need to communicate ideas  in a quick, concise, clear way that’s tailored to our particular audience, and it takes them 300 pages to do it.

-A 300-page novel is not outmoded.

-A 300 page book on social media is.  With more thought and a good editor it could have been at least 50 fewer pages.

-As soon as it’s published, any references to Robert Scoble’s posts, or Chris Anderson’s blacklist is not news.  In the PR 2.0 world, this stuff is ancient history.

Granted, the  book is both a guidebook and history. But 300 pages is still too long.

The authors repeat things over and over.  I’m sure they’re doing it to drive home their points.  But I, like others, am reading this book because I already read the leading blogs,  listen to podcasts (which is where I heard an interview with them, leading me to buy the book), engage in Twitter, read AdAge and Wired and and follow Scoble.

In the larger picture, these are niggling complaints.  The authors have done a service to a profession in profound evolution, providing a pioneering work that’s  a textbook for the future of PR.

As the authors point out, we’re in the time of a huge transition.  PR is in an era of telling stories and being a part of a community that we understand and contribute to.

With each chapter I found myself grabbing a pencil to mark passages where Brian and Deirdre offer up insight, truth and a clearer way into PR’s future.

Just as importantly, I’ve subscribed to their blogs and sites to keep up with the conversation that they initiated.

Multimedia Blog, My Leap into the Norm

Okay, I’m sure others have done this but it was a big deal for me, a goal I’ve had for months.

Monday, August 31, I posted the latest installment of The MU Blog that utilized various social networking outlets.
It’s composed of 10 short graphs that can be read in two minutes.  There’s news, folksy gossip and teasers.

It contains  links to:
-an online  news release

-YouTube video created with a Flip camera

-YouTube video adapted  from a TV talk show

-two podcasts

-still photos on Picasa
I announced the posting on Facebook and Twitter and our internal daily online announcement network.


Background: With  my Zoom H2 and H4  audio recorders, I recorded the president’s breakfast remarks and the convocation speaker’s address. I yanked out my Flip to capture the marching band’s music and faculty procession for convocation.

After a video shoot with our president in her home, we sat on her deck and talked. She mentioned that her 79-year-old husband was taking a motorcycle test.  He’s also the boxing coach.  I used this tidbit to link to a podcast interview with him about coaching boxing.

* * *

I played with the concept for the MU Blog for nearly a year.  I was not at a point where I could put down on paper the concept of the blog but I knew the style.  I knew who I wanted to reach.  I knew I wanted a blend of news with a touch of the  personal.

And, finally, I knew that I just had to jump in, do it and let it evolve.

All this takes teamwork.  Our IT folks have created the technical pathways  to do these things– from podcasts in 2005 to content management systems, YouTube channels and my WordPress blog site.


Monday was deadline day.  I was writing the content for the blog (and a look at my revisions record shows that I revised about 20 times).  One staff member  (wearing headphones and munching Doritos between keystrokes) edited and mixed two podcasts and two videos while a student worker recorded intros to the podcasts from scripts I wrote in between working on the blog text, answering phone calls and running to meetings.


Most people, aside from this blog’s readers and a few others, understand the leap.

It’s now the norm.

Where The Hell is Matt is marketing marvel

Where the Hell is Matt 2008 is one of the most inspiring videos I’ve seen this year (aside from Susan Boyle. Both by the way are masterpieces in shooting and editing).
As of this writing, WTHIM2008 is rocketing its way to 21 million views and 80,000 ratings, more than 200 video responses and 64,000 text responses.  In the category of Travel & Events it’s the number one most discussed and number two most viewed video of all time.

Why the popularity?  Well, it’s a quickie world tour, a whirlwind geography lesson.

It’s happy.

It’s funny (dancing by the ocean and getting washed out by a wave, curious dogs checking out crazy humans) .

It contains the continually unexpected.  The scenes run from good to gorgeous.

And about half way through the 4:29 video, it dawns on you again that, yes, the whole world can dance as one!  People from every culture can come together and feel joy.  You see it in every scene.  People –especially the kids — are having a ball.

Finally, it’s excellent marketing . The sponsor, Stride, doesn’t appear until the final second, after the credits.  The message in white type on a black screen is simple:  “And thanks once more to Stride for making this possible.”  It’s followed by the Stride url

I don’t know what it cost to produce WTHIM2008 but you can bet that Stride is feeling good about every penny spent in this message that contains — aside from the opening “point it that way, okay?– not one spoken word.  There’s not one pitch.

But there is a message.  It’s a beautiful, multicultural world in which there is music, dance and joy.

When life and consciousness can be distilled into this kind of living poetry, you know there’s hope for peace.


Newspapers Plunge, Obama Uses New & Minority Media

Skimming through AdAge online I came upon this op-ed by Mike Hughes of The Martin Agency on why the ad industry needs to support newspapers. Do Some Good: Create Newspaper Ads.

It’s a great example of the brontosaurus mindlessly plodding while the world continues evolving.  We need newspapers — or at least trustworthy reporters and honest editors — but the dailies are dying.  Hughes’ piece, especially coupled with the 30-plus critical responses from people in the news and ad business, is a classic and should be read in every college journalism, advertising and PR course.

It should also be read by us in the PR and marketing business.

A good encapsulation of the challenge — and where we’re at in this transition– is Aggregation Forces Journalistic Evolution


Meanwhile, as the corporate print industry bleeds massive red ink, Barack Obama emerges as the most media savvy president ever.  Read Obama Sets New Standards for Managing the News.

I have mixed feelings about this.  There’s a very fine line between understanding  and manipulation.    I’m impressed with his team’s recognition of the new/social/minority media and ability to embrace it for maximum effectiveness.

I certainly prefer Obama’s media savvy to the Bush Administration’s tactics of disinformation and censorship.

At the same time, the Obama Administration’s acknowledgment and use of the new media needs to be monitored. Use of controlled leaks and advanced leaks to targeted new media underscores a really good understanding of how people are communicating these days.

Understanding can lead to consensus.  It can also lead to control.

Most news bloggers get their news from the very media that’s dying.  The vast majority of bloggers don’t have editors nor were they trained as reporters.  Very few of them cross-check facts.  (A lot of them don’t even check their spelling).

Therefore, most of them are more susceptible to bias and manipulation.

We’re in a time of major transition and I hope we come out of it with some sort outlets for reporters who see journalism as a noble profession, who are hungry for the truth, and who maintain healthy skepticism.

What’s all this have to do with higher education?  Concerning the dying industry, our college administrative leaders still judge our success by how much we appear in print or on TV.  I know most people in our business are trying to educate them about this massive shift (as we work to sort it out ourselves).

Concerning the new media and journalism: if real, fearless, caring  journalists begin disappearing, so too does democracy.

CUPRAP Highlight: Mike Richwalsky

The CUPRAP audience was happy with Karine Joly’s presentation.  She left us feeling good, confident, informed.

Mike Richwalsky of Allegheny College shook us out of our comfort zone with his presentation,  “Put The Technology to Work” .

He cited the March 2009 Nielsen report that “social networks and blogs are more popular than email.”  The biggest jump in users is in the 35-49 age group (and based on my own anecdotal experience, I’d guess the 50-65 age group is gaining ground).

He then proceeded to describe how to blogging is the subfloor for the rest of social media.  They’re also great search engine magnets.  Everyone from students to the college president should be blogging, Mike said.  RSS feeds are the 2×4’s of site construction.

Crowdsource your content.  Share it with all who want to partake, and encourage them to share it.

Mike is a smooth and quietly enthusiastic presenter.  By now he had everyone nodding.  At precisely the right moment, he introduced Twitter.  Most of the audience had heard of Twitter.  Some use it for their personal lives.  A few use it professionally.

By the time Mike demo’d Twitter posting–Web, TXT, iphone, Tweetdeck, Twitterific and hashtags you could feel minds spinning at various speeds.

Twitter was creating a gentle buzz.

He showed examples of how the mainstream media is using Twitter, and how to use it in the field of customer service.  He also showed how it can keep you up to date on what is being said about your institution.

He asked how many people were totally freaked out with all the info.  Most of us raised our hands.  I’m pretty sure  I raised mine twice.

Mike nodded and moved onto Facebook.

He talked about fans, groups, creating and targeting ads, analytics and costs.

He forayed onto YouTube and showed examples of Allegheny’s work.

When he mentioned Ning, a guy at the next table, shoulders sagging with info overload, echoed in helpless despair: “Ning?”

Mike then mentioned that we’re all moving  to cloud computing and a woman near me shook her head:  “Oh my God, what’s cloud computing?” I think her hands were shaking.  Several people reached for the mini-chocolate bars that the Hotel Hershey makes available for crisis moments like this.

This crowd of new and seasoned PR/publication/Web pros talked about Karine’s and Mike’s presentations during the rest of the conference.  They were both models of good content presented in an organized, interesting manner.

I had created a Twitter account a couple years ago but just couldn’t get into it.  At the end of the presentation, I walked back to my room, sat down with my laptop, logged on to Twitter and began tweeting. . . .

*  *  *

Both Mike and Karine are pioneers in the social media field.  I would suggest subscribing to their blogs to stay on the cutting edge of the field.

Here’s a link to Karine’s  collegewebeditor

And to Mike’s blog:

Wouldn’t hurt to subscribe to for a ton of great info on PR, publications, Web design, etc.

CUPRAP Conference Highlight

The definite highlight of this year’s CUPRAP conference in Hershey, PA was the duo of Karine Joly of and and Mike Richwalsky, assistant director of Public Affairs at Allegheny College.
Karine’s presentation was titled “It’s The Community Stupid! 7 Step Plan to Raise & Nurture any Community Online.”
She kicked off by noting that RSS and podcasting were new/hot in 2005. In 2006 it was blogs with video being the mover in 2007 and social networking and Twitter in 2008.
She also offered several messages building upon Marshall McLuhan’s “The medium is the message.”
In 2008 she mused that “The conversation is the message.” Later in the year she offered that “The conversation is killing the messenger, the message and the recipient.”
During the CUPRAP conference she debuted: “The message is dead, the conversation — diluted on a multitude of social media –is almost impossible to follow.”
How do you catch up and keep up? She asked. The answer: “You don’t.”
You need to define what’s important to you and your create your goals.
Her seven step plan includes:
-Finding your audience’s needs
-Defining your goals
-Participatory design
-Including exclusive, invaluable content in your conversation
-Listen, identify, empower
-Cross promote
-Treat your audience as stakeholders

We’re in a relationship building business and conversations build those relationships.
It’s a masterful distillation of a process that takes shared vision, discipline and a lot of participation.

Here’s the full Powerpoint and videos.

I saw people nodding their heads as Karine reassuring us that we can’t do everything and that we’re on communication overload.  The room full of PR, publications, Web and design people sighed in relief as Karine told us to stop, breathe and think.

Yes, somebody understood and was telling us to slow down.

Then Mike came on and deftly made us sit up, pay attention, take notes, and for God’s sakes, think.

More in the next post.