Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lessons on marketing and branding from Media Branding 2.0 (#branducambridge)

Earlier this week I was a panelist at Media Branding 2.0, an event hosted by personal branding guru Dan Schawbel, where we discussed personal branding, social media, and how to make yourself stand out in the crowded media landscape. It was interesting and inspiring, and I'm sure that I left having learned as much as anyone in the packed audience...
For me, using Social Media and building your brand boils down to a few key points. I go into them in greater detail over at Work It, Mom! today, but in a nutshell:

1. Identify your niche
2. Scope out your competition
3. Figure out where they've dropped the ball
4. Pick that ball up and run with it

Pay attention to which social media sites you decide to use. As I've said before, there's a huge difference between LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace, and it's important to know how to use each effectively. Here are my cheat sheets:

Why This Working Mom Loves Facebook.

Would You Be Friends With Your Boss on Facebook?

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively.

Of Course Sarah Palin is on Linked In. Here's Why You Should Be, Too.

Why Twitter is Worthwhile

Twitter was the social media star of the night, though, and panelist (and new dad!) Ted McEnroe, director of digital media for NECN, pointed out that Twitter is like a river of information, and the shelf-life of what you want to share may be longer on other networks (like Facebook).

There was a lot of interest in how to attract media attention, and radio show host and TV personality Mel Robbins offered some insight into how producers and editors in broadcast decide what stories to feature: First thing in the morning, she said, they scour the internet and various news sources to find out what stories are trending. She suggested that PR and marketing folks do the same, and then work their pitches so that they connect their news or the experts they represent to those trending stories. I think it's sound advice: If you have a few hours to cobble together a news story, and email (not a phone call!) offering an expert who can speak to the hot-button issue of the day is a sure way to get noticed.

(By the way, if you do decide to phone, the first words out of your mouth after "Hi! My name is So-and-so!" should be "Is this a good time?" or, as panelist Lisa van der Pool of the Boston Business Journal suggests, "Are you on deadline?")

We discussed other ways to get media attention, and I mentioned how gimmicks, mispellings, and hard-to-navigate press materials end up in my virtual or actual trash bin. Want to avoid that fate? Here are my tips for writing a press release that actually gets noticed.

If you missed the event, you can attend it virtually, thanks to attendees who kept everyone posted on Twitter (#branducambridge). Ali Powell wrote a great summary of Media Branding 2.0 at her blog, BostInnovation, and Joselin Mane (@JoselinMane) of BostonTweetUp put together a fabulous slideshow that really captures the energy of the event. You can also watch the whole thing on YouTube; there are several installments, as the event ran a bit long, but if you have time it's worth a watch. Here's the first one (I'm on the far right):

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