Author Archives: Sally O'Dowd
This post originated in Social Media Week, written by our Sally O’Dowd.
If you’re following the news and surfing your social networks today, you’ve probably heard about the two-year prison sentence given to three members of the Russian puck band Pussy Riot. The women are being jailed for a “punk prayer” that they sang in a Moscow cathedral to get rid of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Needless to say, the tough verdict and concerns about the right to self-expression in Russia are being covered by the media worldwide.
This is just one of many stories curated on a daily basis by Muck Rack, a website owned by New York-based tech start-up Sawhorse Media. Muck Rack focuses its curation efforts specifically on journalists, providing insights to anyone interested in what the media is doing at both a macro and micro level. The service uses an algorithm to identify the most active journalists on Twitter and other social sites, and the most shared story links to curate the biggest news of the day, or hour, for its home page. As I write this, Pussy Riot has given way to Paul Ryan’s topless photo.
Indeed, with news and other content flying around the world at warped speed, it’s hard to keep track of it all. But for journalists and the communications professionals working with them, Muck Rack is a handy service. Journalists often say that PR people do not understand their beat or how to pitch them, and PR people often say that journalists are gruff and “misquote” their clients. Muck Rack’s curation service might just be able to help the two sides mend their differences, according to Greg Galant, CEO of Sawhorse Media, which also produces The Shorty Awards to celebrate the best content producers on social networks and runs curating sites Listorious (2 million top tweeters by category) and Venture Maven (venture capitalists).
“Throughout civilization, there have probably been a million rules but we settled on the 10 Commandments. All cultures have their lists and areas of focus,” Greg said, adding that curating is innate to all of us. “With people around the world creating content every day, it increases the need exponentially for someone to make sense of it all.”
Muck Rack focuses on the journalist-publicist relationship because journalists were the first professionals to incorporate Twitter into their everyday lives. The early adopters made excuses for using it, perhaps out of shame for becoming so “new media,” but, today, many give excuses for not using it. Moreover, the PR world could use some help.
“People pitching story ideas have a tough time connecting with journalists and journalists get spammed because the pitches are not relevant to them,” Greg said.
Muck Rack enables users to curate lists of journalists by name, beat, title, tweets or even articles to which journalists link. More than 6,000 journalists have applied to be on Muck Rack and social media editors of major news organizations are registering their reporters on the site, Greg said. Members of the media are using it to find out what the competition is writing, scoop or collaborate with fellow journalists, identify sources, promote their finished stories, and gain visibility for themselves and their news organizations.
Likewise, communications professionals can use Muck Rack to find out what journalists are saying about their company or client(s), competitors and industry. With the ability to create lists based on journalists’ current tweets and other criteria, PR folks no longer have to question what a reporter covers. As a result, they can create highly targeted media lists and pitch more accurately, resulting in better overall relationships and media coverage. (I can see this service being especially important when a PR person is new to a certain industry or topic—the more time you spend at a certain company or in a certain vertical, the more familiar you become with the reporters covering your space.)
In addition to the web property, Muck Rack provides other ways for journalists and PR people to get to know each other better and solve problems. Twitter chats using the #muckedup hashtage take place weekly and focus on topics such as interviewing, how to pitch journalists on social media, and the future of both professions. People can sign up to be alerted to future chats by sending an email (address at bottom of web page) or via the company’s Facebook or Twitter pages. The company is also going to host a New York seminar in September that will gather journalists and communications professionals. Follow the #muckedup hashtag on Twitter for details as they develop.
Journalism has often been described as the “first draft of history.” With Muck Rack’s curation service, Twitter also provides a pretty good first draft, too.
This post originally appeared on the Social Media Week blog.
In the premier of “The Newsroom,” Aaron Sorkin’s new show on HBO, news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) berates a college sophomore, referring to her as “you, sorority girl” who is “without a doubt a member of the worst period generation period, ever, period.”
Jack Myers would beg to differ. He believes they might be “the next great generation.”
He added, “Will is wrong.”
Jack, a media ecologist and chairman of Media Advisory Group, has spent the last two years researching Internet Pioneers, the country’s first generation to not know life without the Internet. This group of 21.2 million Americans—born between 1991 and 1995, just before and after the Internet browser launched in 1993—are the subject of Hooked Up: A New Generation’s Surprising Take on Sex, Politics and Changing the World.
Simulmedia, which provides targeted advertising for TV, is sponsoring Jack’s book tour across the United States and at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity this past June. The company on July 12 hosted an intimate group of marketers at its downtown loft space to mark the launch of the book. “No one has picked the numbers better for 25 years than Jack has,” said Simulmedia CEO Dave Morgan in his welcoming remarks. “He has studied a unique sliver of the millenials, and they will have a transformational impact on our marketplace. Because of that, I think Jack has captured things that we can all learn from.”
Hooked-Up identifies several key trends including:
- There is no digital divide among Internet Pioneers. Kids from the poorest neighborhoods have been early adopters of the latest mobile phones.
- Internet Pioneers have more diversity than any generation of college-age youth. A larger percentage of them are Hispanic, Black and Asian, and there are more Muslims in this cohort than in past college-age groups.
- 59% of college students in 2012 are female, and that disproportionate share will increase for at least a decade. Of graduate students, about 65% are women.
- The female-centric society will have a major impact on the workforce and business culture.
Activities and Societal Views
- Internet Pioneers multitask to such a degree that they can record 36 hours of activity in a 24-hour period; they spend 4 hours on social media per day and sleep 6-7 hours per night.
- Internet Pioneers embrace interactivity and incorporate two-screen activities into their TV viewing; these YouTube natives are comfortable with short-form content, amateur videos, and of course commenting and sharing.
- Growing numbers of Internet Pioneers in college engage in casual sex or “hook up” on a regular basis in lieu of traditional dating relationships; however, studies also show increasing numbers of students who describe themselves as virgins or abstinent.
- The Internet serves as therapist and support group. Students often seek answers to their personal problems online, and the Internet is credited with helping some young gay people come out and with helping straight people understand “different kinds of relationships.”
- Internet Pioneers are most likely to support candidates for political office who advocate individual rights including abortion, gay rights, medical marijuana, limited gun control, policies that do not overly advantage the already wealthy, and a strong military with a non-interventionist agenda.
Jack and Will McAvoy do have one thing in common: They both acknowledge that the Internet Pioneers had it pretty tough as kids, growing up with turmoil ranging from 911 to the financial crisis.
“All they’ve ever known is chaos. They go to the Internet for stability,” Jack said at the book launch. “In many ways, it’s their church.”
Moreover, they are going to bring their digital skills and belief in diversity to the workplace and society at large. “They will lead us into peace, tolerance and stability,” he said. “It gives us hope for the future of the world.”
Lessons for Marketers
As these tech-savvy young people forge careers, buy houses and have children, marketers no doubt will be trying to engage them. “In addition to inserting commercials intrusively into mass-distributed television programs, marketers will shift budgets into curated content that relates to their product category and that engages consumers in an interactive relationship,” Jack writes in a chapter on marketing.
He credits several recent campaigns built on relevant content that has spread like wildfire:
- JC Penney’s Haul Nation providing teenage girls a chance to share their love of fashion via video blogging
- Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign with the now iconic video demonstrating how professional stylists and editing transform ordinary women into fashion models
- Dove for Men “Journey to Comfort” campaign featuring video content about men “becoming comfortable with themselves
- Pepsi Refresh, which invites people to submit ideas they think will change the world
- Coca-Cola Happiness, a campaign featuring simple expressions of well-being that anyone can feel regardless of religion, language, ethnicity or belief system
And while these campaigns have struck a chord, Jack notes that Internet Pioneers are fickle. Brands will need to continue to find ways to relate in an authentic way to these always-on multitaskers. Said Jack: “They change brands as much as their music tastes.”
Sally O’Dowd is a VP and head of the social media team at DiGennaro Communications, a firm specializing in corporate communications for ad agencies, media-buying concerns and entertainment companies.
- 83% of moms rank happiness for their children above success and riches;
- 71% of moms want their kids to know the “real me” warts and all;
- 65% of today’s moms are rejecting the myth of the perfect “supermom”;
- 50% of moms would give up their engagement ring over their personal technology.
Such are the findings of the latest study published by McCann Truth Central, the global intelligence unit of McCann-Erickson. McCann launched the study July 17 at the Crosby Street Hotel in New York, hosting a presentation delivered by McCann Global Research Director Laura Simpson followed by a panel discussion. The event’s timing couldn’t have been better, given the news that new Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer has just announced she is pregnant and will be working through maternity. What a news hook.
Jenny Rooney, editor of Forbes CMO Network, moderated the panel consisting of: Jamie Lynn Grumet, the mommy blogger from that Time magazine cover about attachment parenting; Ann Lundberg, EVP of CafeMom; Wendy Sachs, author of How She does It: Successful Stories from Stay-at-Work Moms; and Linda Fears, editor-in-chief of Family Circle. You can check out Jenny’s blog post here.
A few take-a-ways:
- The panelists aren’t so sure that Ms. Mayer will be able to work through maternity leave; Wendy shared stories of post-partum depression and all panelists agreed that being a new mom is exhausting.
- It’s hard to balance the desire to have a happy child and one well-prepared for the future. It’s something that moms think about every day.
- Women are rejecting the supermom notion—none of the mothers on the panel expressed an ability to reach perfection all the time.
You can check out other panel highlights by perusing the #truthaboutmoms conversation on Twitter.
In addition, Melanie Wells, chief content officer here at DGC, attended the session and had a few things to say.
THB: Melanie, how do you think brands should communicate with mothers?
MW: I agree that brands should speak to moms’ “lifestage.” More specifically, I believe the “powermom” segment is a lucrative niche that goes overlooked by marketers. These are moms with money who are looking for ways to make their lives easier, make sure their kids are happy, and will pay more for brands that “get” them and their busy lives. Give me quality food, technology, financial advice, and clothing that I can buy quickly and count on always.
THB: Happiness or success?
MW: There’s not a “vs.” here. I can be a great executive and a terrific mom. It takes a lot of “work,” but I find happiness in being successful at several things. And when I’m happy, my daughter is happier.
THB: What did you think about Marissa Mayer’s announcement?
MW: Executive moms like Marissa shouldn’t make plans about what their working mom life will look like until they are holding a baby. No woman can anticipate how a child will affect what they want.
THB: Do celebrity moms make ordinary moms feel bad?
MW: No one is fooled by celebrity or executive moms who seem perfect. They aren’t! We’re all just doing the best we can and figuring it out as we go along. It isn’t easy, obviously, or the topic of working moms wouldn’t generate so much media coverage and debate!
THB: Any tips for other working moms out there?
- Have work-at-home space that is for WORK. Your time there is sacred, just like there is family time that is sacred (and Blackberry-free);
- Be honest at work when you need or want to attend a school event or need to tend to a sick child;
- Find a super sitter who can cook (at least occasionally);
- Be honest with your employer about what you need to make work “work.”
We’ve mostly recovered from the jet lag but are still feeling the inspiration of attending the 2012 Cannes International Festival of Creativity. Seven members, including DGC Founder Sam DiGennaro and myself, attended the festival this year, five for the first time:
Kendra Peavy, general manager, director of development
Erin Donahue, senior account director
Megan McIlroy, senior account director
Claire Eisenberg, senior account executive
Michael Murray, senior account executive
Here is a round-up of our first-timers’ tips:
- Confirm. Confirm. Confirm. When scheduling interviews, make sure the reporters are going to be there. If they say they will do an 8 am interview, will they really be there after a night at The Gutter Bar? Best to confirm at 7 am that morning. Also, scope out the location of interviews prior to their taking place so that you know exactly where you are going. And remember: PR people always have to be on time, Gutter Bar or not!
- Technology and social media. Make sure your team has all the necessary tools to stay connected: my-fi (which makes wi-fi portable and shareable with colleagues), passwords to all social media accounts, knowledge of which hashtags to use, and Hootsuite and/or Tweetdeck to monitor social activity. Arrange all this prior to Cannes so that you can get content out the door as soon as you land.
- Protect your feet and skin. You walk all day, and all night long. It is a marathon, not a sprint, and you need comfortable shoes. If you burn easily, wear sunscreen and possibly a hat. When you are not inside listening to seminars, you are under the hot sun, which does not go down until 8 pm or so.
- The right attitude. There is time and then there is Cannes time. You’re working, networking and socializing at least 16 hours a day. Some of your best-laid plans don’t work out, but then you are pleasantly surprised by a spontaneous happening that works your way. You work hard and play hard, and as soon as you have finished one meeting, you are on to the next. As Erin says, Cannes is not for people who get agitated easily.
Check out the following videos for more personality and counsel for maximizing your professional time at the Lions Festival: