Most of the resumes we receive include social media as a skill. And when we bring these applicants in for interviews, they are eager to tell us about their passion for it. Many of them have held prior internships or positions where using social media was a key part of their roles, and they see it as a main component of their future careers. They love social. They understand its importance in digital marketing. They’ve been using it for much of their lives.
We like seeing the enthusiasm for social (after all, it’s a big part of what we do at Nebo), but after a while, it starts to sound like a broken record. Everyone enjoys social, and everyone believes they are good at it. What does this really mean? Is this an area of expertise? What makes one person better at it than another? How can an aspiring social media marketer distinguish herself among a sea of applicants who share the same “skill”?
At Nebo, we talk a lot about being “human-centered.” It sounds simple, even instinctive. But in reality, it takes a lot of effort – especially in the digital world. For PR professionals, this means remembering that the job is about relationships, not just blasting out a press release, getting placements and moving on to the next project. Human-centered media relations aims to establish lasting connections with journalists, influencers, thought leaders and their audiences. But how do you make meaningful connections with people you’ve never even met face-to-face?
This same question has plagued online daters since the dawn of Match.com, and many users continue to struggle with it. Some people may even think it’s impossible to find love through these services – but 20% of committed romantic relationships begin online, so some users must be doing it right. It’s difficult to form a real bond without in-person interaction, but there are certain tips that can help users begin building successful relationships before meeting offline.
In this series, I’ve shown how creating an OKCupid profile is a lot like key messaging and how reaching out to other users is similar to pitching media contacts. In the final installment of Love and Media Relations, I’ll explore what online dating can teach PR professionals about genuinely connecting and bringing humanity back to the digital industry.
As PR professionals, part of our job is to pitch clients’ stories to target outlets and influencers. At the agency, the only pitches we see are the ones we’re sending. But on the other end – at the newsroom – those pitches are just a drop in the bucket. Media relations specialists rarely experience this transaction from the other side, but online dating has given me a surprisingly fresh perspective on pitching. In this installment of Love and Media Relations, I’ll continue to share PR lessons I’ve learned through online dating, showing how contacting potential love interests is a lot like pitching media contacts.
Media relations horror stories are everywhere. Even the simple act of sending an email has inspired PR urban legends. There’s the firm that sent out a mass message addressed “Dear Blogger.” There’s the agency that made a data entry error in a mail merge and got the names of hundreds of media contacts mixed up. I’ve even heard about someone blatantly CCing several writers at several different channels on the same pitch.
Hearing these media relations nightmares, I’m struck by how similar they are to my own horrifying experiences as an online dater. There’s the guy who greeted me with “Hey Pumpkin.” There’s the other guy who asked if my job in social media was “doing Twitter and stuff.” And then there was the time I got the same message from two men in one week: “I wanted to let you know I’ve already married and divorced you in my mind…” (Turns out this bizarre pseudo-proposal was a popular approach at the time.)
By now, we all know that media is converging. We know that the most successful digital marketing strategies combine the power of owned, paid and earned media. These efforts mutually strengthen each other, and they rely on each other. With so much overlap, it can be difficult to determine which efforts fall under which categories, especially at full-service agencies that include teams for PPC, SEO, design, development, PR and social.
Some items fit neatly into the spectrum. Design is owned. PPC is paid. PR is earned. But what about SEO? Is it paid? Nope. Is it owned? Kind of. Is it earned? That, it seems, is the question.