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5 Tips to Increase Your Networking ROI

5 Tips to Increase Your Networking ROI

The importance of networking for a marketing communications professional can play an even more important role in ROI, if done correctly. As marketers and promoters of all things, it’s a given that networking is an integral part of our everyday life. How to network and capitalize on those meet and greets, friendships, conferences, social functions, charity events and the like is equally and even more essential in a marketer’s business. The ultimate ROI for any marketing communications professional occurs when a networking contact and business lead converts into a long-term client.

Today, in honor of Throwback Thursday, I revisit my blog from 2014, and take a page from Abbe Sparks Media Group and my personal experience with networking. As a marcom professional whose nickname is “miss-connected,” I am delighted to share my expertise on how we have maximized our ROI. The key is to constantly communicate with individuals you already know and those you just meet from events, business functions and social gatherings; follow up on their potential leads and convert all into happy, repeat clients

Never diss anyone you work with, especially your bosses as you never know where they will end up.

1. Don’t Burn Bridges – A savvy PR woman executive gave me the best piece of advice when I first started out in the business world at Warner Communications, “never diss anyone you work with, especially your bosses as you never know where they will end up. I guarantee it will come back to hurt you.” I can’t reiterate enough the importance of this advice. Although I changed jobs a few times throughout my career, I have remained connected with her and other then young marcom professionals from 20 years ago that have and still prove to be essential to my ROI. Some of these pros are now heads of networks, agencies and top television producers.

Make new friends but keep the old

2. Get Personal – “Make new friends but keep the old.” When promoting or sharing an event, business endeavor or a client’s news or benefit, include your personal friends in your communications and social media marketing. The personal friends I include date back to grade school. Again, some of them are powerful influencers, captains of industry and all of them are consumers.
 

Social Media is a major help in networking but is no substitute for personal interaction.

3, Use Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and other social networks are an essential networking tool that provides a simple and time-effective way to keep in touch with old and new friends. Thanks in large part to Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with some long, lost childhood friends and even gained some amazing clients. Recently, I posted last week’s blog entry on Google+ and a college friend emailed me with a new potential client – his company.

4. LinkedIn, Meet-Ups and other Like-Minded Social Sites – Capitalize on LinkedIn’s value as a networking tool. Attend LinkedIn local networking events. Utilize other like-minded network sites wherever possible. I can’t say enough about grabbing any and every potential opportunity that arises.

Don’t be a wallflower.

5. Be Physically Visible – Getting yourself out there is as equally important as sitting behind a computer to post or message. Attend as many networking functions, conferences and events as physically possible, time allowing. There are many events that are cost-effective and free, so don’t miss out.

Net, net – As marcom pros, we need to network as it can prove to be the most powerful ROI tool for our business. Have a Terrific Thursday. As

ASMGROUP

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5 Killer LiveStream Apps to Know

Live Video Streaming Via Social Media: 5 Killer Apps You Should Know About

JUNE 17, 2015

POSTED IN ABBES SPARKS for RFPALOOZA

Social video live mobile streaming is the current and most likely future darling in the social media fray as evident by the recent crop up of new social video mobile apps and live streaming partnerships – the most recent being June 9th’s Huffington Post announcement of its partnership with Broadband TV.

Abbe Sparks Media
LiveStreaming Video is going Mobile

All indicators are pointing to the fact that social video will quickly become an important new tool that every marketing communications professional should be aware of. Video currently accounts for over three fourths of all web traffic and that number is expected to grow. And, native video is seeing even faster growth. I am always on the lookout for the most optimal methods to promote my clients’ brands and initiatives and this week, I thought I would share with you my top five picks of mobile app offerings in this social marketing arena.  

Five Social Video Mobile Apps Brands Should Know

 

Periscope– acquired by Twitter in March, this is the app I am most enthusiastic about. Fully integrated with Twitter, it allows you to immediately connect with your existing Twitter followers – your built-in audience – and engage them in real- time live video streams by sharing your experiences, such as an event or speaking engagement. Periscope will save your videos to the app if you choose, and they’ll be available for viewing by your followers for 24 hours. You can also opt to save your videos to your phone’s camera roll. While still in its infancy, Periscope is quickly catching on with PR and Ad agencies for brand building and engagement.

Meerkat – is also an inexpensive and easy to use mobile video app. Similar in use to Periscope, the key differences are: when you live stream on Meerkat, your viewers can also text chat with you during your broadcast in real time, plus the mobile app doesn’t automatically record your videos. But, your video will automatically save to YouTube if you use the katch hashtag in your broadcast title or comment with #katch during your stream.

Hang w/ – Launched in March 2013, this mobile app claims they were the early adapters of live streaming video. Hang w/ allows users to stream live video plus broadcast it simultaneously to friends and followers on their Facebook and Twitter networks. You can host your live stream on a web page and send followers there using Hang w/’s web widget.

Facebook – Not that long ago, the social network added native video to their plethora of consumer-friendly offerings. Using its own video player, when you upload videos to your page, the news feed publicly shows how many views you receive. For brands seeking ways to connect with their FB fans, natively posted videos are now a sure bet as they are getting better organic reach than video posts hosted by competing social networks.

YouTube – The granddaddy of video sharing, this google-owned social video network has its first serious competitor in Facebook and its video sharing platform. Yet, YouTube is still very much a major force to consider when sharing your brand’s messaging, so do not discount them as a key weapon in your overall marketing mix.

According to several speakers at last February’s Social Media Week in NYC – Facebook is giving Google’s YouTube service a serious run for itsmoney and warned us not to be surprised if some day in the not so distant future, the social media giant overtook YouTube as the video streaming social network of choice. And, in a recent Fortune article, it was reported that Facebook’s video traffic has reached 4 billion daily views, making the social network YouTube’s first real rival in online video—and an even tougher contender in the battle for digital ad dollars.

So my fellow colleagues, social live video mobile apps are definitely worth experimenting with. It costs you nothing to see if you have an audience ready to view your brand’s content, experience or event. And in the process, you might become an instant hit film maker. Have a Wonderful Wednesday! AS

Tags: #socialmedia #mobile #videostreaming #tech #marketing #PR #advertising

*Originally posted by Abbe Sparks in her blog “ABBES SPARKS” for RFPalooza.

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Branding Yourself for Business Bliss

5 Steps to Effective Self-Branding

Last week, I talked about finding time to brand your agency or self. (Branding Me: A Matter of Time) This week, I elaborate on self-branding by offering tips on how to compile a checklist for a small to medium-size agency’s and/or individual practitioner’s self-branding agenda.

To thine own brand be true.

As marketing communications professionals who are experts at branding others, the most difficult challenge we face is branding ourselves. Yes, it’s a given that in order to be successful, retain existing clients and secure new accounts we have to promote our achievements. However, quite frankly, when do we find the time?

We must find the time to self-brand; its essential and the key to ROI. The same rules of thumb that apply to branding our clients also apply to us. We just have to stay the course and create a bullet proof self-branding program that we can fit into our busy schedules..

Here are 5 Tips for Agency and/or Self-Practitioner Branding that should be on everybody’s checklist:

  1. Join Professional Organizations. There are numerous professional organizations in our line of work that tout our accomplishments, provide endorsements and the like such as Public Relations Society of America, the Advertising Association, Direct Marketing Association, Better Business Bureau.
Finding time to brand one's self is key to increasing ROI
Finding time to brand one’s self is key to increasing ROI
  1. Network, Network, Network! Attend professional organization events, meet-ups and client-category events.
  1. Showcase your Expertise. Seek out speaking conferences and panelist opportunities that reinforce your role as an expert in your field. No time? Write a guest blog or share your professional opinion on social media channels such as LinkedIn.
Membership in professional organizations can help elevate your profile.

4.  Gain Recognition in your Profession. Apply for awards in your category. There are many opportunities to be recognized in our field – whichever communications specialty you focus on.

5.  Promote Yourself! Capitalize on media interview opportunities as an expert in your field.

Winning a few awards doesn’t hurt either.

So, fellow marketers, these are just a few of the myriad of ways to jumpstart your branding of your agency or self. Have a wonderful Wednesday. As

Tags: #SelfBranding #marketing #advertising #PR

BY ABBE SPARKS

By Abbe Sparks

Abbe Silverberg Sparks is the founder of Abbe Sparks Media Group, a boutique communications firm specializing in media relations, cause and social media marketing, branding and special events planning.

ASMGROUP

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Lawyering Up in the Social Media Age

Is Social Media a White Collar Crime?

MARCH 5, 2015

ORIGINALLY POSTED IN ABBES SPARKS

This week, I write to you from New Orleans, while attending the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime Conference, with over 1,250 criminal attorneys and criminal justice members in attendance. Today, I share my observations on how the ABA markets to their membership via traditional marcom tools as well as social media.

Getting attorneys to use social media can be a daunting task.
Getting attorneys to use social media can be a daunting task.

Marketing to members of an organization – whether it’s for continuing education conferences or annual conventions or workshops – can be extremely challenging. Depending on the nature of the profession (particularly legal or medical), there are challenges navigating around confidentiality issues and getting practitioners to up their marketing/social media learning curves – definitely a source of frustration for marcom pros. To overcome these obstacles requires a solid understanding of the membership in question and a well thought-out strategic plan.

LawBulletin
The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin sees an uptick in attorneys’ adoption of social media.

Founded in 1854, the Law Bulletin Publishing Company’s flagship publication,The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin®, is the oldest daily courts newspaper in the country. The legal daily has been at the forefront of the digital and social media age, and does a great job using social media channels to reinforce their publications and their industry’s work. The publication has around 3,200 Twitter followers.

According to Adam Music, Content Specialist for The Daily Law Bulletin and monthly Chicago Lawyer Magazine, the majority of attorneys (70%) are using some sort of social media network. Yet, the extent of use and how they use it is not optimized. There are a variety of reasons for this – lack of knowledge, circumspection, legalities and ethics. However, some areas of the law, such as in sports law, there is a definite presence on Twitter.

While social media marketing was not heavily used this year by the ABA’s Criminal Justice Division to promote their White Collar Crime Conference, the conference did have their own hashtags and tweets were abundant during the keynotes and conference activities. Next year will mark the 30th Annual Conference and the ABA plans to actively promote the event via social media.

ABA1
As more millennials enter the legal profession, the industry will have no choice but to embrace social media.

Whatever professional organization you market for, the best advice you can offer your clients is to jump on the bandwagon and educate them on the power and advantages of social media marketing. As millennials enter the professional workforce, marketers won’t have a choice: that will be the ONLY way to reach them. Have a terrific Thursday. as

#ABACJS #WCCInstitute #social media #marketing #meetings

ASMGROUP

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Have Yourself a Merry Mobile Xmas

Be Socially Mobile this Holiday Season When Promoting Gift Shopping

Originally posted in ABBE’S SPARKS @ RFPalooza.com

Have Yourself a Merry Mobile Xmas

NOVEMBER 12, 2014

POSTED IN ABBES SPARKS

Inboxes across all devices are surely looking a lot like Christmas by now. Yes, Holiday marketing campaigns are upon us and in this ever increasingly crowded field, what’s a marketer to do? How do you get your client’s brand to stand out from the pack? Now is the perfect time to add mobile marketing and social media to your holiday promotional mix to achieve sales success.

Experts predict that almost 20% of smartphone owners will purchase gifts via mobile.

Here are some fast facts, tips and examples that can help.

-The holiday shopping season accounts for one-fifth of the retail industry’s $3.2 trillion in annual sales.

 

The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Consumer Spending Survey finds that a record-high 56 percent plan to shop online, up from 51.5 percent last year — the most in the survey’s 13-year history. And, as mobile grows in use and scope, consumers this holiday season will turn to their on-the-go devices for many reasons.

The NFR survey found that of the majority of smartphone owners (55.7%), 35.8 percent will research products/prices, nearly one-quarter (23.9%) will redeem coupons and 19.1 percent will actually purchase items – another survey high.  One-quarter of shoppers say easy-to-use mobile websites is an important factor in their decision to shop with a specific retailer.

Macy's Black Friday Specials, optimized for Mobile.

Using timely promotions and holiday messaging, your client’s business can achieve success with mobile marketing and social Media tie-ins

Tips & Examples for Holiday Sales Success:

  • Make sure the brand’s website is mobile-optimized.
  •  Build excitement for the brand’s holiday deals and products with countdowns, previews, and exclusive content.
  • Create interactive marketing experiences for consumers: touch-activated ads with icons to further explore the brand on social media — a perfect way to get consumers to truly remember a bran
  •  Highlight online store details that will compel consumers to add the brand to their online shopper’s list: “Enjoy 40% off all winter inventory online until Black Friday– Treat yourself and beat the rush!”
  • Personalize the user experience and give consumers something shareable to take away after interacting. It will help drive customers back to the site.
  • Develop a variety of social media integrations. turning a promotion into a revenue generator for the brand.

 

Looking for more ideas? Refer to a marketer’s bag of strategic tools like couponing, video interactive vignettes and contests to name a few. The list is endless.

So, be sure to use mobile and social media to add to the multi-channel user experience during this extremely important shopping holiday. Achieve success. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

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Networking Matters. ROI Results

Make new friends, but keep the old – one is silver and the other hits GOLD!

 

Networking Matters. ROI Results

NOVEMBER 5, 2014

POSTED IN ABBES SPARKS

As marketers and promoters of all things, it’s a given that networking is an integral part of our everyday life. How to network and capitalize on those meet and greets, friendships, conferences, social functions, charity events and the like is equally and even more essential in a marketer’s business. The ultimate ROI for any marketing communications professional occurs when a networking contact and business lead converts into a long-term client.

Today, I take a page from Abbe Sparks Media Group and my personal experience with networking. As a marcom professional whose nickname is “miss-connected,” I am delighted to share my expertise on how we have maximized our ROI. The key is to constantly communicate with individuals you already know and those you just meet from events, business functions and social gatherings; follow up on their potential leads and convert all into happy, repeat clients.

Below are five essential tips to capitalize on the power of networking.

  1. Don’t Burn Bridges – A savvy PR woman executive gave me the best piece of advice when I first stared out in the business world at Warner Communications, “never diss anyone you work with, especially your bosses as you never know where they will end up. I guarantee it will come back to hurt you.” I can’t reiterate enough the importance of this advice. Although I changed jobs a few times throughout my career, I have remained connected with her and other then young marcom professionals from 20 years ago that have and still prove to be essential to my ROI. Some of these pros are now heads of networks, agencies and top television producers .

 

  1. Get Personal – “Make new friends but keep the old.” When promoting or sharing an event, business endeavor or a client’s news or benefit, include your personal friends in your communications and social media marketing. The personal friends I include date back to grade school. Again, some of them are powerful influencers, captains of industry and all of them are consumers.

 

Social Media is a major help in networking but is no substitute for personal interaction.

  1.  Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and other social networks are an essential networking tool that provides a simple and time-effective way to keep in touch with old and new friends.Thanks in large part to Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with some long, lost childhood friends and even gained some amazing clients. Recently, I posted last week’s blog entry on Google+ and a college friend emailed me with a new potential client – his company.

 

  1. LinkedIn, Meet-Ups and other Like-Minded Social SitesCapitalize on LinkedIn’s value as a networking tool. Attend LinkedIn local networking events. Utilize other like-minded network sites wherever possible. I can’t say enough about grabbing any and every potential opportunity that arises.

 

  1. Don't be a Wallflower. Make yourself visible at industry events.

    Be Physically VisibleGetting yourself out there is as equally important as sitting behind a computer to post or message. Attend as many networking functions, conferences and events as physically possible, time allowing. There are many events that are cost-effective and free, so don’t miss out.

 

Net, net – As marcom pros, we need to network as it can prove to be the most powerful ROI tool for our business. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

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Curtain Up: Cross-Promotion for the Arts

BY ROGER CHIOCCHI ON OCTOBER 8, 2014

POSTED IN ABBES SPARKS
'ABBE'S SPARKS'
‘ABBE’S SPARKS’

 

 

 

 

By Abbe Sparks
BY ABBE SPARKS By Abbe Sparks Abbe Silverberg Sparks is the principal of Abbe Sparks Media Group (www.abbesparksmedia.com), a boutique communications firm specializing in media relations, cause and social media marketing, branding and special events planning.

Curtain Up: Cross-Promotion for the Arts

Good creative event marketing campaigns include cross-promotion as an effective tool to generate impactful messaging and maximum ticket sales for any opening night or event day. I personally find that when promoting an event — be it a dance or theatrical performance, music concert or in-store promotion – there is power in numbers. Joining forces with other entities or companies is a most clever tool to use in event marketing.

The Fall season turns our focus to theatrical, dance and art gallery openings that rely heavily on promotion to drive ticket sales as well as to national awareness months that heighten attention on social, civic and health issues. Here are two examples of cultural arts and non-profit organizations that highlight the best in cross-promoting to achieve their goals.

October is national bullying month so the first example features the acclaimed musical play, Lyle Cogen’s ‘Sticks and Stones,’ a one woman show starring songstress/educator and anti-bullying activist Lyle Educator/anti-bullying activist Lyle Cogen's Sticks and Stones  musical play uses an integrated marcom mix to cross-promoteCogen who travels the country annually to schools and theaters to educate and empower children ages 6-15 on bullying behavior and how to diffuse and prevent it. To further promote the messages and her show’s availability to the schools, she submitted her play to New York City’s Solo Theatre Festival, which was selected as a featured play to appear one-time off-broadway during bullying month. Solo Theatre Festival and Sticks and Stonescombined efforts to promote the play and the festival using an integrated marcom mix including print ads, social media marketing and traditional and digital publicity generated from both entities. The result: heightened awareness of the play and its anti-bullying messages, Ms Cogen as a musical theatre actress/songstress and educator, plus increased awareness for the Festival – all designed to successfully drive ticket sales.

 

Giordano Dance Chicago actively cross-promotes to drive ticket sales for its fall performances
Giordano Dance Chicago actively cross-promotes to drive ticket sales for its fall performances

 

The fall dance season is in full swing and most reparatory companies’ are debuting world premieres. For Giordano Dance Chicago’s (GDC) upcoming performances at Chicago’s The Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, the company is actively cross-promoting to drive ticket sales for its two night stint where it will debut the world premiere of ‘Feelin Good Sweet’, a Broadway-inspired full company work by award-winning choreographer Ray Leeper (So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Got Talent). Using a blend of good old-fashioned PR with digital and traditional print ads, a slew of thirty second vignettes, email marketing and social media, the company also barters with like-minded institutions to cross-promote each other’s product offerings via website sharing and newsletters. The jury is still out for GDC’s October 24 and 25 performances but word has it that ticket sales are on the rise.

So, take a page from these two cultural arts organizations the next time you have an opening event to market and promote. The most effective campaigns include cross-promotion. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

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Key Thoughts of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Key Thoughts of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Cause Marketing and Cross-Promotion

I commend ALS for the success of its inadvertent ALS Ice Bucket ChallengeIce Bucket Challenge grassroots campaign. What started out as a single video plea from an afflicted ALS person first diagnosed with the disease at age 26, has turned into one of the best examples of a successful grassroots fundraising and awareness campaign of a horrific disease with no known cure. Of course, this is my “Sparked” opinion, but I’m sure savvy marketers, non-profit organizations and corporate heads of state will agree.

While we have all enjoyed partaking in and viewing everyone’s videos on Facebook, as a marketing communications professional dedicated to promoting, among other things, non-profit organizations, I feel compelled to highlight what ALS Disease is to the masses.

ALS Disease, formerly known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and informally known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. Most commonly, ALS strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time.

Throughout this viral grassroots fundraising and awareness campaign, I have observed some of the best and worst cross-promotion tactics performed by corporate America.  The best examples are celebrities and music groups who jumped on the band wagon to, yes, promote their personal brand, while simultaneously bringing attention to the ALS cause and/or also donating to the cause.  Recently, I was at an outdoor Beach Boys concert at Ravinia Festival where lead singer Mike Love took the Ice Bucket Challenge on stage and also announced his Love Foundation would donate $5,000 to the cause. I also give kudos to the Alice Cooper Band as each band member partook in the challenge and spoke of personal friends who are afflicted by the disease.

Worst examples include any corporation or brand that has used this devastating disease to promote a new product or their namesake. I will not point out who they are in this post, but I find this tactic despicable and extremely distasteful. Marketing 101 – never capitalize on someone else’s tragedy.

Lastly, I did partake in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge while I was on a mini-vacation day in Chicago. On a whim, I asked my waiter to pour the ice bucket on me and the waitress to video it on my phone. I chose to promote the restaurant and city of Chicago, both of which I was not paid for, but just for the joy of it. Feel free to take a look at my random attempt in this video: http://bit.ly/SparksALSICE

 

 

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The Marketing of Mommy Bloggers

How Mommy Bloggers Make the Car Payment

From this week’s Crain’s News

By Brigid Sweeney March 18, 2013

Despite the cloying name, mommy blogging has been serious business for years—and no one knows that better than Danielle Wiley.

Ms. Wiley, a former senior vice president at Chicago-based public relations firm Edelman, launched Sway Group LLC in 2011 as a talent agency to represent some of the nation’s most popular mommy blogs and help them navigate contracts with big-name brands, including Deerfield-based Walgreen Co. and Oak Brook-based McDonald’s Corp. Now she’s joining with Los Angeles-based blogger network Launched Productions LLC to create Massive Sway, which she says, at 40,000 strong, is the world’s largest network of female bloggers.

Mommy blogging, which began in the late “90s as electronic diaries that captured the triumphs and travails of raising children, has become increasingly sophisticated and commercialized. As the most popular bloggers established presences with readers that fall somewhere between celebrity and best friend, brand marketers began to recognize that these women are trusted voices and often young, articulate and stylish to boot. At the same time, some bloggers seeking to monetize their work began accepting payment or free merchandise in exchange for product reviews.

 -

That’s where Ms. Wiley comes in.

“Bloggers kind of straddle this line between journalist and spokesperson, and the fact is that the spokesperson part is a lot more enticing to brands,” she says.

Ms. Wiley also realized that a significant portion of a brand’s PR fee went to researching which blogs were appropriate for sponsorships: Do readers have children the correct age for, say, Pampers? Have bloggers mentioned using similar products before? Do they swear? Meanwhile, the bloggers themselves were inundated with questions from big agencies about their rates, which they had no idea how to answer. “It was very clear that this space was ripe for a middleman,” Ms. Wiley says.

Indeed: In its first year, Sway pulled in $1 million in revenue. (The company is paid by corporate clients and then pays its bloggers out of that revenue.) Ms. Wiley says she had her first $200,000 revenue week in March and expects 2013 revenue to exceed $5 million.

Quantifying blog readership can be a dicey proposition, but a few of Ms. Wiley’s clients bring in millions of page views per month. Rebecca Woolf, a Los Angeles-based mother of four and blogger at GirlsGoneChild.net, is a Sway client who has garnered hundreds of thousands of monthly page views, book and television deals—and the attention of countless marketers.

“I get 100 pitches a day,” Ms. Woolf says. “The most important thing about Danielle is that she wades through all the stuff and she knows what I would say no to and doesn’t even send it to me.” Ms. Woolf says her blog-generated income has increased 20 percent year over year (she declines to give a dollar figure), a boost she attributes to Ms. Wiley’s liaisons with companies including car seat and stroller manufacturer Graco and Honest Co., an eco-friendly line of baby products.

As more bloggers try to make money, other intermediaries have popped up. Boulder, Colo.-based BlogFrog closed a round of Series A funding in 2011 backed by former executives of Google Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. And Belmont, Calif.-based BlogHer, which began as a support network and conference series for bloggers, increasingly has moved into creating sponsored content.

Critics worry that the market is becoming oversaturated and could lose the honest, original voices that made mommy blogs popular. “The future of blogging, at least in the lifestyle and parenting category, needs to be defined by more actual content and better content,” says Stephanie Schwab, a principal at New York-based Crackerjack Marketing. “I think there will be a little bit of a shakedown in the next couple of years as the bloggers who got into it solely to get rich realize there is no easy money.”

Ms. Wiley agrees and employs a full-time quality assurance rep who reads every sponsored post to ensure that the blogger has hit the key messages. She also is unveiling sophisticated tracking software that allows bloggers to count the number of impressions, or mentions, each post receives across the Internet. That’s critical to media-buying agencies, including Publicis Groupe’s Starcom Worldwide and WPP’s Mindshare, which calculate “buy rates” based on those impressions.

“One of Danielle’s unique aspects is that she was both an early blogger herself (at FoodMomiac.com) and has an agency background, so she’s really capable of making the appropriate connections,” says Lainey Canevaro, PR agency Ketchum’s Midwest brand practice director, who has worked with Ms. Wiley on several projects.

From this week’s In Other News

Read more: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130316/ISSUE01/303169979/how-mommy-bloggers-make-the-car-payment#ixzz2O1MfmToi

 

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Social Media Marketing and Public Relations

Social Media ROI and the Impact of Press Releases

According to Technorati

A recent post from BtoB Magazine highlights the impact of social media marketing as an overall strategy for public relations. In an article on March 4, Christopher Hosford mentions that social media is part of an overall plan for most companies, but is still being limited to 6 percent of the average marketing budget. Press releases are being integrated into this strategy with social media.

Kirsten Bjork-Jones points out that press releases are part of the marketing plans at her company.She mentions, “We distribute catalogs, PR releases, videos, email, ads and so forth, and it’s hard to tell which leads come from which channel.” This is a common issue for companies that focus on multiple venues to market their products or ideas because tracking ROI has its limitations. An infographic from PR Newswire highlights how press releases get shared across multiple social networks, so the combined impact of other social media efforts can be difficult to trace.

It is clear that social media ROI and press releases are being mixed together as companies encourage more shares of the releases through Facebook, Twitter and other networks. PR Newswire found that Twitter was able to “drive significantly more traffic” compared to the other social networks; however, Facebook and LinkedIn were still important for overall shares. This may explain why press release websites are still flourishing despite the multiple options available to companies. Business Wirecontinues to make global partnerships to increase its press release distribution with the addition of multimedia content. TransWorldNews has also focused on press release services with videos and picture galleries along with offering tweet services for more distribution. PR Newswire has focused on creating social channels with search optimization.

As press releases continue to be combined with other social media efforts, the blend that is being created is making it more difficult to track ROI. However, as Kirsten Bjork-Jones mentions, the “overall program” and its impact is more important than “individual elements.”