Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Troy

Case Study of a Successful Author's Social Media Campaign

Recommended Posts

The this morning I received an email from a publicist, touting a book that has nothing to do with the demographics of the website.  The message was however well written and while I did not reply to the message, I did check out the website of the domain from where the email was sent.  

I was interested in the services they provided to help authors reach book clubs.  The is an excerpt from the first case study I read on the website (This case study has nothing to do with the book mentioned in the original email I recieved).  

"Results: In the six short weeks that we worked with Whitmore, she blossomed from an author with no social media experience to one with a mastery of her blog, Facebook, and Twitter who was capable of building her own audience without our help. We launched the campaign with zero followers on each of the three accounts and finished our six-week campaign with more than 300 followers on Twitter, 104 likes on Facebook, and 540 views per month on her blog with 33 blog followers. Whitmore continues to be active on all three platforms and has grown her Twitter following to nearly 450 followers."  

You may read the full case study here.  It was published on December 2014.

Even though the author started from scratch, the numbers aren't particularly impressive--certainly not worth boasting about in a case study as a pitch to other potential clients.

However, given that these numbers were posted two years ago I thought it was be a great case to review to see what the long term impact of this social media campaign.  So I checked out the author's account to see how they have grown.  After two years here is what I found;

  • Facebook: 18 additional likes on Facebook.  The authors posts sporadically, an average of twice a month over that last 6 months.  None of the posts have anything to do with her writing and most posts get no likes.  She averages 0.5 likes per most over the last 6 months with zero comments.

    I would strongly recommend this author remove her Facebook page). The link to her website on Facebook points to a broken URL. When I do a google search on the author's name, Jan Whitmore, Facebook comes up first.  (This is a Google problem that I wish they would fix.)
     
  • Twitter: there are 51 additional followers on Twitter (less than 2 new followers a month). The author is active on Twitter tweeting on average 3 times a day since the account was created.  Looking at the tweets from the past two months there is no shares, no retweets--virtually no engagement. 
     
  • The Blog: The authors blogs infrequently the most recent Blog post was last September.  The Blog is part of a website that describes her mission, but could benefit from some SEO.  The site is not getting enough traffic to even have an Alexa ranking.

At first glance, it does not appear that the author is very interested in selling her books, but that stands at odds with the fact that she contracted (apparently) the services of a full service PR & Advertising Company.

Bloggers in particular really need to understand what their goals are when they engage on social media. In this author's case the neglected Facebook page is causing more harm than good, because it is ranking higer than her website, in search, and most the important information, her website address is wrong.

None of her social media spoke about her books or her Blog.  I would not have known that she was an author with any interest in selling books if my first exposure to her was through her social media platforms. 

Aside from hiring a PR firm, this example is no different than many others I encounter on a daily basis--most far worse.  For many authors are abandoning websites in favor of a Facebook pages.

It appears the only beneficiaries in this case study are the social media platforms and the PR firm.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for sharing this ... Social Media Campaign is a misnomer.    Especially, since Social Media 'marketing'  is only one tactic in an overall communication plan. And make no mistake  social media is in the communication section of a marketing plan   Sadly, many new creative producers (musicians, authors, writers, etc) don't know how to market their product and that makes /her/him an easy mark.  

Marketing is not PR and PR is not Social Media... and none are SALES! ;)

As for authors not selling their books on social media - that's correct.   Social media is a communication channel where the author "sells" her expertise.  She doesn't say "buy my book." any more than United tweets  "buy my tickets" or Chase tweets "deposit your money" or Beyonce post on instagram anything but lifestyle and fashion. Remember her infamous "the link is in the bio" on Instagram?  The "BeyHive" is real.  But I digress. 

Social media is for building relationships.  Using Social media, an authors illustrates how her book can solve a problem, take a reader on an adventure, teach a lesson, etc.  Social media is for helping those in  your market achieve their goal.  One can do this with any book...fiction or nonfiction - every book has something to teach.  

My first novel "Sleeping with a D-Man", illustrates how a young woman can survive the ensuing apocalypse after conjuring up hell on earth just by dating a wanted man.  

The whole time I was  on Xanga, Myspace and a little on Facebook all I talked about were  "relationships". I even co-hosted a popular blogtalk radio show "relationship playbook" and grew our page to more than 100,000 followers.  I wasn't really a relationship expert - I helped people to see the unseen in their relationships and that's how I ended up soft-selling my novel. 


A good PR consultant would have advised this author of that one key tactic to reach her market and gain followers...help someone realize their dream and they will sell your product by their word of mouth.  That is what Social Media is Word of Mouth Marketing and it is taboo to talk about yourself - you let others do it for you.  

If a PR person is advising her client to "sell" anything on social media then her client isn't going to experience much success.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Marketing is not PR and PR is not Social Media... and none are SALES" good point @Mel Hopkins

The real challenge is how does an unknown (non-celebrity) writer use social media to develop relationships which would ultimately lead to the potential to soft sell of a book? Keeping in mind that the time and energy that goes to social media must be taken away from some other activity.  How does one create an efficient and productive balance?

A couple of years ago I did a quick analysis of the twitter accounts of the top earning authors.  Some of the authors like Suzanne Collins, Nora Roberts, and John Grisham did not even have twitter accounts.  Most of the others, with accounts were inactive. J.K. Rowling only Tweeted 29 times despite have over 2 million followers. 

This was two years ago, if I had more time I'd revisit the analysis.  Some additional interesting stats I collected at time included;

  • 90% of internet users don’t use Twitter
  • One-quarter of all tweets, are generated by software (automated tweets, not initiated manually by a human)
  • 5% of Twitter users account for 75% of all activity
  • 93.6% of Twitter users have less than 100 followers
  • 1 in 10 Twitter users don’t follow anyone
  • 92.4% follow less than 100 people
  • 6 out of 100 twitter users have no followers
  • 25% of Twitter users have never tweeted
  • 0.29% of overall Twitter users who follow more than 2,000 people

This was two years ago, so I'm sure these numbers have changed, but at the time I questioned whether avid readers would be very active on Twitter. I still question that.  

My own experience tells me that Facebook is more fertile ground for reaching readers that Twitter, despite Facebook making it increasingly more difficult to reach these users over the past year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Troy said:

The real challenge is how does an unknown (non-celebrity) writer use social media to develop relationships which would ultimately lead to the potential to soft sell of a book?

I did it... and Black Enterprise did a story on me. (Click the black enterprise link) and I was about as unknown as anyone can be when I self-published my first novel .  What's worse is my novel dealt with the occult! Do you know how hard it is to sell the occult to a bunch a church going women LOL!

I networked with direct marketer who put me on stage; I got social (Xanga, MySpace, Facebook, blogtalkradio, ), Print (Ebony, Black Enterprise, Chicago citizen, ) broadcast (podcasts and radio) and live media exposure..and this was 2006 mind you. My book was even adopted by 2 chicago book clubs.    My nielsen bookscan rank was pretty decent in the first 6-months to a year after publishing - and I didn't even actively sell.  Soft selling came through my "relationships" and public "appearances".  

Is it time consuming? Heck yeah! But what else you have to do but sell your product you're an entrepreneur!  but to answer your question YOU PREPARE A COMMUNICATION PLAN and follow it!


Before I took my 8 year hiatus  I handled the media program for others...mostly for creatives and high tech folks though. One of my clients' work is now featured in the Library of Congress.  Yep he's immortalized :)  I mentioned for another client/partner , together we built a facebook fan page to 100,000 - and we even had Malcolm Jamar Warner chimed in on our page... 

But here's the key;  you have to know your product and once you do  you have to use that information in communication full-court press.

One cannot solely rely on one media channel. This is why I said social media is NOT a strategy - it is a tactic in a communication plan.  

As for twitter accounts, again remember social media has social in it - social = relationship... J.K.  recently went to twitter to defend casting a black woman has hermione .  She has about 3,000 tweets now. 

  I follow a lot of writers on my twitter account - and some prominent writers (screenwriters, songwriters, politicians) follow me - what I've learned about established writers, such as Hand of God's creator Ben Watkins @_benipedia_ , is they connect for relationships.  Ben gets that more of us that reviewed his show on Amazon the better his chances at a second.   

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mel, you're an on-air personality, lol. I think if you couple your tv experience and diverse background you get a pass and you also get extra points for that in the world of media. What you are saying is a lot more difficult for those of us who don't have that connection to media that actually opens doors. I've written countless articles about my experience and this isn't just in regard to my books, but also my footwear company. Social only works with an influencer involved or with those who already have the legs to run with it.  For every person that you give as an example of social media I almost guarantee that I can track down their connection to an influencer. 

This is not me being negative, it's just the reality. Now, I've seen musicians effectively use social to grow without the support of an influencer, but I will say on any day that music is a social creation and it is much easier for people to get on board with a new musician than it is a writer. Writing and reading are solitary actions for the most part. Sharing your emotions about a book (unless it's popular) very rarely gains any legs on social and that's because the words on the page don't translate into the soundbite that a song, or a picture/video can do.

Do I think social is critical? Only in that the potential for connection is greater because that is where the people are.  BUT and this is a serious BUT, social does not sustain traffic to a website in an organic manner. You will have to continuously produce content for social to keep the traffic and even when you do this based on my stats, the traffic doesn't stay very long when it arrives from social. Search produces visitors that will stay on the site longer than 1 minute.

Take a moment to read this post I wrote. Once again, I've been keeping these type of stats for a very long time and this one simply solidified the countless articles about how effective social media is for the regular person.

http://www.cbpublish.com/business-how-long-does-a-facebook-visitor-stay/

Now at the same time I do have a post that shows how effective a post or retweet on social media is when it's done by an influencer and this to me proves my point: 

http://www.cbpublish.com/business-the-power-of-a-tweet/

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, CDBurns said:

What you are saying is a lot more difficult for those of us who don't have that connection to media that actually opens doors.

It is only difficult because of lack of experience in the media relations arena...

The on-air thing came as a result of my marketing gig...I was pitching stories to news before I started reporting it. The news director who hired me noticed I had an eye/ear for news. One gig led to another because I'm writer. 

So that's my only edge. No influencers; I know what stories  to pitch and I know what won't work.  

Still I pitch stories that editors consider and then kill.  I once pitched a story to Black Enterprise about this dude who put together a deal; a big deal for vodafone.  It was a great story all the parts where in place  and vodafone folks were ok with the publicity but the american contingent ,dude's boss, wouldn't let him take the credit publicly even though it was his deal... Story was dead on arrival.   

I pitched a story to essence about vasectomies and black men - I had the expert doctors lined up to go on record and everything. I even had young men willing to talk about the snip -the editor was game at first but then she quickly lost interest... The truth of vasectomies I think would be discouraging to her readers but it had a legs...

So see these people aren't my friends - they have a job to do and I know how to help them get their job done.  

When the BE editor picked up my story it was 2006 - no one was doing social selling... it was new and different. But I was actually pitching a story about my client a techie author (it don't get no boring than that lol ) when the editor noticed my HTML email signature promoting my book. It was no big deal to me.  I was just getting the word out about my book ...but he liked it did a full page feature on me  and my book!!!- and my client  got a 1/4 page on a chipset he co-created .  Still good though because I'd already placed my client in a full page-picture spread in Ebony.  

Here's how I pitched him - I told the editor do you know that commercial running about "fewer drop calls in your network"  Well Meet my friend, blah blah the black scientist, wireless LAN expert who holds 25 patents to make sure you stay connected..  It was true and verifiable but a scientist doesn't know that's a news story- but a media person does.  

If I were to look at your stories I'd probably could tell you in a minute who to pitch to and how. Plus there has to be a hook.  no one cares if you made a sneaker - no cares that you write articles but there is something about that folks will care about.  That's what I do I find that thing that people will want to read.  When you pitch a story it has to have  two of the three elements - New, Novel or a Change component or it has to be straight out effing shocking.    :D

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, CDBurns said:

Now at the same time I do have a post that shows how effective a post or retweet on social media is when it's done by an influencer and this to me proves my point: 

http://www.cbpublish.com/business-the-power-of-a-tweet/

 

Below is the truth of SOCIAL MEDIA.  This is the crux of that billion word article... :P (just teasing you)

"the Power of a Tweet only works when you’ve truly invested yourself into a community.~ @CDBurns

  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Troy said:

This was two years ago, so I'm sure these numbers have changed, but at the time I questioned whether avid readers would be very active on Twitter. I still question that.  

I think the founder of Medium.com who is also twitter co-founder probably thought the same.   When a twitter follower urged me to start writing at Medium  in 2013, I remember the sign up was through the twitter account.   All my twitter followers with Medium accounts became my Medium followers instantly. Now more of my twitter followers are on Medium.com so we are able to tweet stories from each other onto the twitter platform.  

I'm on twitter strictly because I'm a media junkie, and because Twitter breaks news first and globally.  

By the way, cool observation.  I betcha that's probably why Medium.com was 'born'  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could tell you stories about this process of media and gaining media interest, but doing so would make me sound bitter. I have to say that you are a very interesting subject, but there are more instances of failed social media approaches from the average person than successful approaches. Let me give you one story. I set a guy up to win the Miller Coors Urban Entrepreneur Grant. When he won, my name was completely wiped from the stories. I can't tell you how many times this has happened. Like I said I don't want to sound bitter, but me owning a sneaker company is unique because I am the only Black owned shoe company in the US actually selling shoes with verifiable evidence, so the story in itself is groundbreaking because the only other Black owned athletic shoe company in the last ten years was the sister that ran Dada, and another local company that failed (a documentary was shot on that company), and she was able to garner millionaire support from Chris Webber. My book writing, I don't even push that at all. It's what I do because it's what I do. I have yet to really put a full on effort into it because I focus on the money maker which is my sneaker store (not shoe company because that is a constant struggle).

I love your story, and think it's dope, but it's the exception and not the rule. Would I be wrong if I said you are leaving out vital info about your career in pitching stories? Who did you work for? Did you own your company that pitched stories? Or was it just a freelance job you had? The reason I ask this is because it's important to others who are reading to know if the company you worked with had leverage or was your leverage your own? To gain the ear of media companies, your resume has to be strong or the company has to be strong. I'm really intrigued by your ability to gain ground, so I am going to start asking you for stats, lol. 

These are the stats I'm interested in because these will really tell the tale of social media. How many unique visitors per month does your website get? How many books per month are you selling. Do you have real evidence of Social boosting your sales? 

I will say this. I do have an aversion to social and using it as a tool because of all of the studies I've done for myself. I won't use Medium because I can't monetize Medium. I won't use Facebook Notes because I can't monetize that either. The only social media site that can be monetized is Tumblr. The rest are basically looking to convert people and there aren't any guarantees on conversion. Do I think you have to have a presence? Yes, because that is where the people are. You have to be where the people are. But if I use my shoes as an example social doesn't do much for me at all. The fact that I have a brand on Amazon has helped me. The majority of my sales are from referrals and because of Amazon ads. The same goes for the books that I sell. Because my work with other people is getting to the point where it can't be ignored, I'm getting sales. Social does introduce some people to the books, but I'm seeing an increase in traffic due to Youtube. YouTube is social, but YT is monetized so I don't mind working on that platform. The honest truth is had I listened to my wife 12 years ago and launched my basketball site through YT, we probably wouldn't have this dialogue. My basketball site got over 1 million uniques per year. It was huge. I made a lot of mistakes, but I definitely say without wavering that an investment into social when I look at the numbers just doesn't pay off.

This kind of rambled which supports your jokey joke about my longwindedness, lol. Also, you becoming an on air personality had an added bonus. You're not hard on the eyes ;-) (just kidding).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, CDBurns said:

You will have to continuously produce content for social to keep the traffic and even when you do this based on my stats, the traffic doesn't stay very long when it arrives from social. Search produces visitors that will stay on the site longer than 1 minute.

Take a moment to read this post I wrote. Once again, I've been keeping these type of stats for a very long time and this one simply solidified the countless articles about how effective social media is for the regular person.

http://www.cbpublish.com/business-how-long-does-a-facebook-visitor-stay/

 

Quick tutorial on how to pitch get placed.and get clips..

1) start w/local media - identify your favorite broadcast station/ tv/radio / print daily, weekly, that also has an online presence and features local stories (all do -but distinguish between syndicated broadcast and local broadcast)  who are the decision makers?  

 2) listen /watch and determine why the news editor/producer  choose  the  local features ? What is the angle of the story?

3) what is the local temperature? What is going on in your area? You have to strike when you know you can capture the mental real estate -

mery streep made news and was trending topic  yesterday because a reporter used her words as clickbait for his headline (lack of diversity in hollywood is hot topic) ii user the opportunity to promote a book I'm reading.

3) understand what you are selling. - you are NOT selling shoes anymore than nike sells sneakers and athletic wear.  Your shoes are the keys that loosed the shackles of the w-2 chains

You are not writing blogs or books...you are LEADING A MOVEMENT  to help others free themselves from 9 to 5 slavery. 

In this job market , I just read that eligible workers have given up looking for job - they are the longterm unemployed  these folks are your market!

Your media pitch? 

"A Memphis entrepreneur is lacing up his own designed running shoes and lesding others to find their own economic freedom.. CD Burns of (shoe business name) is .teaching young men to become their own boss...and if they become distributors of his product in the process that's just a win win - Burns says it is his way of helping others realize their dream...blah blah...

Note: yea I clean up "good" but when I pitch no one sees me - I don't know these folks. so I'm just words.  My folks get placed (in print or broadcast) because I fill time and inches. In short, I just help editors get their job done. 

You can help editors too once you start thinking like them. In the process, you'll get more clips to share with those you are helping to free themselves. 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, CDBurns said:

 Would I be wrong if I said you are leaving out vital info about your career in pitching stories? Who did you work for? Did you own your company that pitched stories? Or was it just a freelance job you had?

I meant to quote this one and it's most difficult to do on the phone!!  But the comment on the other one is still valid. 

Not really leaving anything out. My information is all over the net. What I speak of here Is a snapshot of my pitch/placement success and it is my own - no backers no infuencer; only me doing my consultant thing.

 I work as a marketing consultant and  have since the late 80s and my USP, my focus, is helping creatives, sometimes hightech entrepreneurs, soft sell through media. My niche is media.

 (Dam it feels weird to write that but it is the truth and that one skill set has taken me so many places)  What's missing is the fact, that sometimes I will take employment if the position interest me

And those employers hire me to use my communication ability...if I included my accomplishments when working with an employer you'd think I was telling a tale. But yes my resume is impressive. 

But I digress . Media placement is low cost way to sell. you don't buy ads you simply get folks to talk about you,.

I don't get so wrapped in stats when I look at my amazon associates or adsense report i look for one thing How Much did I earn! Did someone buy?  

I compare the cost of sale to the return on investment. In media placement the cost is time. Do you know how much a full page ad in Black Enterprise cost?  That is the stat you are concerned with when an editor decides to run a story on you. My "pitch" "bought" me space.  Someone is talking about me - not me talking about myself. 

Other stats you concern yourself with is how much time did you spend compared to how many people saw that article or broadcast -(impressions)  Then you determine if it's still available on-line. Can you leverage it?

After self-publishing my novel, In the first six months I sold about 1000 print books through soft sales. No handselling -some direct sales through  appearances and the rest through distributors -personal distributors and established distribution channels.  No hardsell. Now I average less than 1 sale a month but then again I'm in the process of restructuring my entire company.  

Also in an effort to make an accurate measurment you have to define the clients' goals. For example my clients  used the print and broadcast placement to advance their careers.. My young clients included their media clips in college applications.  My tech client was raising funds for his communications company.

His appearance broaden his market and invited more backers. I even pitched directly to potential backers on his behalf. ( Media, as you know is plural and has many channels. I use all on my clients'behalf. )  As he went on to get government (military) funding for one of his products - mainstream media coverage provided legitimacy -because there is a paper trail.  He used the ebony, black enterprise  spread as leverage for commercial appeal. This particular government grant ask that his product also appealed to the private sector.  

My film producer expanded her territory - or at the least she was able to speak with women directly in Chicago and that allowed for more DVD sales. Roland Martin is an excellent journalist so our half-hour was fun!  Imagine how much it cost to purchase 30 minutes of airtime on WVON in chicago! Her cost was only my fee - and i'm sure that was less than .1 % of the cost of 30 minutes airtime. 

As for stats to my website -melhopkins.com it is a static website   Last month I had 200 unique visitors and the only reason why that happened is because my new twitter handle is "melhopkins dot com" <something so simple lol> But the bottomline in my business is getting attention. I do that well!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brilliant exchange Mel and Chris.  My struggle to keep this forum alive so that dialogue like this can emerge is well worth the effort.  

Mel your media pitch for Chris is priceless.

Chris being a celebrity, or having a celebrity cosign, can definitely help, but it is insufficient (unless you are Kanye West) for something to go "viral" on Twitter.  I've had both Cornel West and Tavis Smiley retweet one of my posts and it went no where.  

A recent tweet of mine,100+ Recommended African-American Children’s Books, that did go "viral" did not have a celebrity cosign (as far as I can tell), but it resonated with more people. White House Af-Am Ed (@AfAmEducation) Retweeted and their retweet was retweeted 100 times-- and that was just one of many.  People love lists, and the recent hullabaloo over the racist children's book, A Birthday Cake for George Washington, was still fresh in people's minds.  So the tweet got some traction--but only on Twitter!  Here is the kicker: Virtually no one from twitter visited the website (this will be the subject for a different case study).  

Mel I do believe there was a time, when we had a stronger, independent Black media, that the coverage of folks like Chris and myself would have come much easier.  This is purely anecdotal, but 10 years ago I, and many of my peers, used to get much more media coverage--without having to develop the angle, pitch the idea, and essentially hand them the whole thing on a silver platter.  

I also know that much of what we do see in the media did not get there organically, but is part of an orchestrated effort by media professionals, PR experts, advertising executives, etc.  

I think part of the frustration Chris feels is that his being "...the only Black owned shoe company in the US actually selling shoes..." should be newsworthy in and of itself.  I think 10 years ago a Black Enterprise would have been more likely to pick up his story with a PR professional, than they would be today.

Of course there were always PR firms, but it seems today the content they promulgate crowds out everything else that does not have a PR machine behind it.  If you look at what proliferates on the top Black websites, much of the content is the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a great exchange. Mel, everything you've written I've done. The difference between what you've written is that my pitch included this information:

Chris founded a basketball website named Center Court Basketball in 2004. Through this website he assisted 100 high school and junior college players to attain scholarships to play at colleges throughout the country. At the same time that Chris was running this site, alone, he left his position at an HBCU which later led to bankruptcy in 2007 which was discharged in 2008 and in 2009 he launched ARCH Footwear on his own dime and took a position as a high school instructor where one of his students won the NAACP ACT-SO competition, his students shot two indie films and published two books. His skills as an educator earned him a position in Ashland Mississippi where he staunched the 4 year decline of state testing and increased the scores in one semester which led to each student in that class actually passing the state test. Ashland is one of the poorest counties in Mississippi. In 2011 Chis launched the ARCH Online Shop and by the end of 2012 he had launched his ARCH Footwear Olympic pack, and his online business netted him half a million dollars.

Now Mel, I wrote this or something very similar to it to almost every local media person and then I began submitting it to websites. I didn't include the fact that I developed the websites for our local Oprah, helped to develop programs for the YWCA Women's Shelter and the list goes on and on. The first time I got coverage was with an online blog, and then PSFK, but none of this happened until I stopped using my own money and launched a Kickstarter in 2014. So I could now add a successful kickstarter campaign to my resume and the fact that I've grossed close to a couple of mill without any investors, after being bankrupt and having cars repo'd.

I definitely commend you on your hardwork, but social and sales don't go hand in hand. Notoriety can follow and possibly attention, but a person like you is definitely critical for reaching the right people. The unfortunate aspect is most people can't afford a service. Why hasn't my story popped or been picked up? I've reconciled that it just isn't my time. I'm okay with that. Troy is right about the cosign..., but remember I said that the cosign has to be consistent and over time. Someone has to literally decide to mentor you ala the local Memphian Mo's Bows and Daymond John. Notice Daymond's cosign of this kid is consistent and ongoing. So I need to clarify what I mean by cosign and influence. My definition is that an important person of substance has to be willing to take the spotlight off of them and place it onto you for more than one tweet or mention. It has to be a dedicated and consistent thing.

In some instances the masses will get behind you(a normal person) in social, but the thing they get behind has to have a real social quality. That social quality is found in music, and art, but is definitely found in an item like Troy's "100+" tweet.

Mel, like you I've probably launched more projects and created more coaches and small businesses than I even know, but my "glory" or coverage hasn't arrived. My job now is to simply be prepared for when it does and have all of my projects in order so I can benefit from that moment.

Troy is also right in the frustration aspect. Locally I've witnessed several companies get on air and it's never the pitch, it's always the connection to someone. Nepotism is often the culprit of many morning news segments. I've witnessed this enough to realize I would rather spend my time fixing problems than pursue the spotlight. While I wouldn't refuse the spotlight, I don't chase it anymore. I also realize that to invite a person like me is like inviting a person like Mel and Troy... it's a threat because of the amount of information and experience we have. People who are threats are often overlooked especially when they are Black men. (I don't say this lightly. Note the majority of bloggers and small biz people in the Black community are women and as it stands women tend to gain more ground in many instances.)

The exchange here is good and to add on to it I want to write that I was just kidding about looks. When I speak about social media it is based on my own research in regard to ARCH. I always tell people to do their own tests. When I talk about my lack of coverage that's me, not the world. My thoughts on social media is that it is an option because that is where the people are and at the end of the day you have to be where the people are, so pick a platform and don't try to be on all of them because you simply can't do that and run a business (unless you automate and that is far too impersonal).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Troy said:

Brilliant exchange Mel and Chris.  My struggle to keep this forum alive so that dialogue like this can emerge is well worth the effort.  

I also know that much of what we do see in the media did not get there organically, but is part of an orchestrated effort by media professionals, PR experts, advertising executives, etc.  

I think part of the frustration Chris feels is that his being "...the only Black owned shoe company in the US actually selling shoes..." should be newsworthy in and of itself.  I think 10 years ago a Black Enterprise would have been more likely to pick up his story with a PR professional, than they would be today.

Of course there were always PR firms, but it seems today the content they promulgate crowds out everything else that does not have a PR machine behind it.  If you look at what proliferates on the top Black websites, much of the content is the same.

Since this is an open-forum and I'm a stickler for usage I need to recap.  

Also since we have so many PR peeps such as the PR person who approached you with a lot of misinformation I feel a need for clarity. What's worse she didn't even bother to learn your business before she made a pitch. (Yes, I'm still smarting over that) 

I want to make sure authors who read this page are equipped with the proper information so they can weed out the competent from the incompetent PR practitioners.  

Public Relations maintains the public image of the company and is responsible for communicating with the public which includes the stakeholders, customers, clients,  etc .   Public Relations usually exist under the umbrella of Corporate Communication. You @Troy as the founder seem to be holding down the Corporate Communication department in its entirety.  There's Media Relations.  Media Relations is a component of Public Relations and the Media Relations specialist maintains a relationship with the Press.

Public Relations= Company <-->Publics    
Media Relations = Company <-->Press 

Next there's Marketing, Social Media, Advertising & Sales. 

Social Media is about relationships, warming the market and attracting traffic to your product. At one point, Social Media was relegated to customer service. (I still believe that's the best place but i don't get a vote)  Social Media is usually under the Marketing Department but it also has a communication component so often times you'll find Social Media Managers in Corporate Communication.

Company=Advertiser <--> Paid spots/space in Editorial Content.  

The Advertiser is the company and they pay the editorial content owner for spots/or space and s/he earns the ad revenue.  

For example, those 100 top black websites  provide the content and google's AdSense program (contextual advertisements)  and amazon associates program (Link Advertisements) provide some of the advertisements.  When I was in news, local companies sponsored some of my special projects - that's another form of advertising.  

Here's where I say remember your goal when using either social media and advertising.  

Social media :  The Content is "what can I do for you..."
Advertising: The Content is  "here's what you can do for me."

Today companies such as Delta Airlines, Marriott, and other large companies also have an internal News department which are headed by a Editorial Director, Senior Manager, News. Again, this all comes under the heading of Corporate Communication.  (communication not communications because communications refers to electronic transmissions)

In Corporate Communication, the News Department is now packaging their own news content to compete with websites such as the 100 black websites you've mentioned.    Check out the Marriott Traveler . Instead of waiting for Conde Nast  Traveler to pick up a story on the Marriott; the Marriott said bump this we have our own publication!  

 Packaging and specialization is a surefire way to get traffic both online and off .  This is why I packaged Chris in that pitch. No matter how far we get from our origins we still communicate through symbols.  Symbols send messages to our subconscious and allow us retain and act on it.   Troy, there are so many ways I can package you.  For example  The Griot, comes to mind When I think of you. I think Troy's  the holder of the stories.  He's the Digital Librarian, who is  bringing writers, readers together and helping us use  technology to get the word out about the stories we love - even the stories we write.

 I suspect folks will never tire of gossip.  So yes those 100 top black website may never go out of style. But who cares?  We have something else to offer the world so I'll use #KeepPounding and #KeepPushing to remind us to do our thing. 

But back to Social Media.  What's the most effective use of social media? 

Again, as you noticed Troy - your tweet went viral because it offered a solution to today's burning and trending topic :"Diversity in Media" .  Also I have to quote @CDBurns  "the Power of a Tweet only works when you’ve truly invested yourself into a community.~


Currently, this is the only community I'm investing in... Why?

1- It is a community.  
2- I'm re-learning a lot of what I already know but forgot.

3 -And the information you all are sharing is allowing me to learn a lot more.  

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, CDBurns said:

This is a great exchange. Mel, everything you've written I've done. The difference between what you've written is that my pitch included this information:

Chris, I get your frustration -but it's the nature of media. Your story hasn't placed because you've put too much information in it.  A pitch is really a headline such as the one I wrote for you.     Once the editor hears it - s/he usually says tell me more.  and that's how you know you're going to get placement.  Then make sure you have an ear.  A lot of folks think "Spray it and pray" but to get coverage it is an intimate conversation with...one news editor/director at a time.  Wait?  You did a website for a local Oprah ? Please tell me she put you on!  

Do me a favor, just one favor use the pitch I wrote for you (of course fill in the blanks but don't make it any longer.)  Call your favorite local news editor/producer act as your own publicist (meaning you don't have to say you are you unless they ask) and pitch them the story idea.   Now one or two things might happen - you'll get the story - but you'll also be ripe for radio/tv/print salesperson to come after you next. Still editorial and sales are supposed to be separate so you'll be able to keep them at bay. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The local Oprah has never put me on the show! I would write LOL, but I think that gets my point across. On two separate occasions I've hired and used PR people, one who worked for the local newspaper and nothing came from that. The second was a beginner and I didn't expect much to come from it, I just wanted to help that person out. 

Let me add this and explain my writing style and why it isn't suitable possibly for "PR". Most of the writing I've done in regard to pitching has been in regard to query letters. While not a PR pitch, they are a bit longer and they deal with an overall summary of the person and the material. My experience in my own PR hasn't been exactly fruitless, but it definitely didn't gain the type of coverage I would have liked, but it's not from a lack of material and information. I do agree that I have so much to talk about that it's overwhelming and possibly hurts my placement, but the irony in that is amazing and it doesn't explain why the guy who created the logo and website for the local Memphis through her growth has never been invited to the show. It also doesn't explain the intentional removal of my name from various stories. 

I will look at your pitch and consider it when I'm in pitch mode. I'm not right now. I'm in biz mode and creation mode. I think your breakdown is great information for those who are reading and adds tons to the dialogue and it's great to have a professional give insight into this topic. That information is worth thousands of dollars.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×