I know, I know, quiet around here lately. It’s the same excuse as always: busy, busy. I’ve been on the go for what feels like eternity (and it actually got the better of me last week – hello, flu!). Thus, I haven’t been “musing” much. But here are some random thoughts and observations from my many travels these last months, starting with…
I’m sure it’s a great city – it looked like it from the air. Jason Falls invited me to speak at the IABC Kentucky / Social Media Club Louisville’s Content Marketing Summit in September. Thanks to some flight snafus, I ended up flying in and out of Louisville in under 10 hours and seeing nothing beyond the airport and the conference room of the hotel across the street.
In addition to presenting, I got to sit in on the rest of the day’s sessions and hear from Michael Schechter of Honora Pearls, Joe Pulizzi of Junta42, and Chris Baggott of Compendium Blogware. During my presentationI talked about online newsrooms and using press releases as content marketing, sharing some examples form readMedia clients and other savvy organizations who “get it” when it comes to organizing news on the web. My slides on Making Online News in the 21st Century are here.
Then a week later, I was off to…
Boston (technically Cambridge)
It was nice to spend a day at a conference where I was actually only there learning, and not presenting or exhibiting or meeting with clients. As part of Boston’s FutureM week of marketing events, I spent a day at MIT/Microsoft’s NERD Center (it’s actually called that) for Start-up Marketing Bootcamp. It was great to hear from some of the non-mainstream social media and marketing speaker-guru-expert-ninja people and get some “real” stories from entrepreneurs at start-ups who’ve implemented innovative marketing tactics and social media strategies to develop a customer base. There was substantially less talk about Twitter and Facebook and more about things like design, user interface/user experience, marketing analytics and A/B testing, and low-cost tools and resources for marketing at a start-up. Meaty stuff.
I most enjoyed hearing from David Cancel, founder of Compete.com and now with Performable.com, and Ross Kimbarovsky from CrowdSpring.com. The day ended with a panel of CEO-types like Jennifer Hyman of Rent the Runway and Seth Prietbatsch from SCVNGR. Smart, in-the-trenches folks who shared their experiences, good and bad, of life at the helm of a start-up. The day suffered from not having enough interaction among all the attendees there (it would have been great to break into small groups and talk through common issues or share ideas for marketing start-ups), but overall it was a solid event. And, bonus, I managed to grab a long overdue beer with Jay Keith and confirm that we share a brain.
Fast-forward two weeks and I’m in…
Crotonville (it’s in New York, on the Hudson)
All you need to know about Crotonville is encapsulated in this episode of 30 Rock. GE invited several other former GE communicators back to its leadership development campus for a day of networking with other company alumni and current GE communications professionals. It was great to see former colleagues and some of the invited speakers were top-notch. A crisis communications panel included representatives from BP and AIG, and it was fascinating to get an insider’s view on these crises, as well as their lessons learned (Apparently no one in the UK thought Tony Hayward sounded “posh”, and in Britain his accent is actually quite common-sounding. Meanwhile, everyone in America thinks any type of British accent is posh…).
Now we’re to early November and I’m off to…
Not that far of a trip for me, but I spent a day in the Collar City for the PRSA Northeast District Conference. I was a little surprised at the lack of social media sophistication at this conference. It seems like PR people, of all professions, should be all over social media as tools to help them achieve their goals (and if they’re not ready to jump in with clients, I’d at least expect them to be reading basic social media blogs like Mashable and experimenting with social media personally, to try and get a handle on the technologies available and understand how to fit them into campaigns).
But, there was very little Twitter usage at the conference. People were asking questions during sessions like, “What is RSS?” and “What’s a hashtag?”, which made me worry I had been transported back to 2008. The kicker was that a few days after the conference, the organizers emailed a PDF of the conference survey to attendees and asked people to reply and check off their answers (um, surveymonkey or surveygizmo, anyone?). It frustrates me that so much discussion about social media seems stalled out among certain PR audiences. At some point, you need to stop expecting social media enlightenment to fall from the sky and just roll up your sleeves and start experimenting.
On a good note, I got to meet David Binkowski and hear about some of his work with Price Chopper and Schick (he is seriously tall in real life, btw). I also attended a media panel that featured Mark Mahoney of the Glens Falls Post Star, who is far too humble for a Pulitzer winner.
Three days later I’m on a plane to…
I attended the American Marketing Association’s 2010 Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education. San Diego in November sounds great, but I honestly only made it outside of the hotel twice (though once was to meet and have dinner with the lovely Rachel Kay and Jennifer Wilbur). The conference was packed with content, and in addition to meeting with a lot of readMedia’s higher ed clients, I also tried to attend as many sessions as possible. A lot of the conference revolved around big university branding campaigns, like those at American University, Purdue and Michigan State. I shared my impressions of the conference with Seth Odell of HigherEdLive via a video post here.
I’m really enjoying being so involved with the higher ed community through my work with readMedia, and it’s great to be able to learn from them and also share knowledge gleaned from working with our clients. I’ve made great connections with people like Michael Stoner, Rachel Reuben, Fritz McDonald and Charlie Melichar.
Back from San Diego and two days later it’s back to…
This time, Troy played host to the eighth installment of Social Media Breakfast Tech Valley, with the very cool Revolution Hall as a backdrop. Patrick Boegel was able to entice Guy Gonzalez of Digital Book World to come talk to SMBTV about Audience Development in the Digital Age. With Guy’s poetry and publishing background, it was really interesting to get his take on building communities online. Guy shared his view of how online platforms (Kindle, iPad, eBooks, etc.) are disrupting traditional methods of getting content to audiences. I love that SMBTV has been exploring deeper and more niche-y topics lately. The audience is so sophisticated and asks such great questions, and it’s great to be beyond Twitter/Facebook 101 content. Guy’s shared his recap and slides from SMBTV on his blog.
…Somewhere in there I also flew out to Colorado for my first Dawgs game in six years (we lost), picked up responsibility for sales at readMedia (a big, scary, exhilarating, awesome challenge for me), and managed to squeeze in some fantastic hikes in the Adirondacks and beyond. I suppose that schedule is enough to land just about anyone in bed for two weeks. I’m on the mend now and happy to be off the road for a while. I won’t go so far as to promise I’ll be back to blogging regularly here, but hopefully it’ll be more than once every three months.
What’s new with all of you?
Image via Flickr user kmanohar