Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 09 - Personal PR

In my column last month, I took a look at how important social media tools and sites had become in helping people network, connect and meet with potential employers. With my underlying message being that anyone looking to become a valued contributor to an agency or marketing department needs to be familiar with the use of social media.

No sooner had I emailed my column off to the editor of this esteemed publication, than I came across a fantastic blog post along very similar lines. It was written by one of my favourite thinkers from the blogosphere, Neil Perkin, from the European magazine publisher IPC Media.

“I've written before’” said Perkin, “about the value I see in the people within organisations who blog, tweet, connect and share ideas online. I don't say that everyone should blog, just that there is value there that is easy to miss.”

Late last year the Sapient marketing services group published their Top 10 Wish List for Agencies of the Future. The Wish list was the end result of a survey to gain insight into what marketers want from their advertising and marketing agencies in the next 12 months.

And what was number one in the Wish List? Surprise, surprise - greater knowledge of the digital space.

More than a third of the marketers surveyed revealed that they are not confident that their current agency is well-positioned to take their brand through the unchartered waters of online digital marketing and interactive advertising.

I wasn’t completely surprised by the findings of the Wish List survey to be honest. Although digital expertise is becoming more commonplace these days. In fact I know it is. I guess agencies just need to do a better job in promoting their skills to clients.

One of the best ways to do this is to tap into an unseen or overlooked skill base. The people Neil Perkin wrote about. The people within an agency who blog, tweet and share ideas online.

Says Perkin, “If you work in a social media or digital agency you may well think that it is commonplace for a large proportion of company employees to be blogging or tweeting.

But in most organisations it's simply not. Which means that the people that are, are potentially adding unique value to that organisation.”

I post something to my BrandDNA blog everyday. I also post around twenty 140 character tweets on Twitter each day. Believe it or not this behaviour is actually encouraged at the agency where I work, Wunderman.

They condone me logging on and playing in social media because they can see the value in what I do. It connects me to like minded people. People who, like me, are happy to share ideas and thinking. People like Neil Perkin.

“When I talk about blogging,” says Perkin, “the number one question I get asked by non-bloggers is where do you find the time?” This, he believes, is the wrong question about the wrong thing.

“I believe it is important for me to find the time,” he writes. “And more than that, being part of a community means that the good stuff now often comes to me. I'm not saying everyone should blog - it's not right for everyone - but I am saying that bloggers get social media because they are already active participants.”

So if you have people who blog or tweet in your marketing department or at your agency why not tap into them? Rather than telling them to get off the internet and get back to work, get them to put together a presentation.

A presentation on what, you’re probably thinking. How about the future of online and social media?

Sounds like a big topic, I know, but if there’s anyone who can put together a good presentation on that subject, it’s surely someone who spends time blogging, tweeting and sharing ideas online.


Neil Perkin

Top 10 Wish List

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