Will Twitter Become a Public Utility?

Twitter

As I hear tweets mentioned daily on the news, I find myself wondering what the future of Twitter will look like. Will it continue to be a necessity for social media marketing? Or are we approaching a time where it becomes less valuable? As marketers, how should we think about the future of Twitter?

Let’s take a quick look at what others have to say:

Chris Abraham, Biznology.com – To summarize a recent post from Abraham, Twitter isn’t going anywhere for the following reasons:

  • It is essentially becoming a public utility – a valuable commodity used by the State Department, Open Source Intelligence (NSA, NRO, CIA, FBI), and Corporate Intelligence (NASDAQ, DOW, etc.).
  • Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat don’t do what Twitter can do, all these years later. “Bieber could leave Insta but he would never leave Twitter — I mean, 91.7M followers!”
  • Twitter has become a de facto customer service channel in many ways. The public has learned that it can be liked, retweeted, and responded to by their favorite brands, celebrities, and influencers (or someone representing them) on Twitter. That simply isn’t the case on other social media channels.
  • While it isn’t necessarily a news source, Twitter does provide real time, less-censored intelligence in a way that is different from other media outlets.

Davey Alba, Wired.com – So assuming that everything Abraham believes is true, Alba would probably say, “that’s great – so what?” Twitter’s real problem, as seen in their latest earnings announcement, is that they are struggling to monetize their success. Where all other popular social media platforms take advantage of video and other advertising, Twitter’s platform doesn’t lend itself to video. Its fast scrolling, constantly refreshing content makes it easy for users to ignore traditional advertising and it doesn’t encourage the user to pause and watch… despite Twitter’s efforts to jumpstart aggressive live streaming partnerships (e.g. Bloomberg, NFL, etc.).

Marty Swant, AdWeek – Swant is significantly more optimistic on the future of Twitter and video. He lists eight statistics that show how hard the company is working to tie its future to video and the its results so far.  I will be the first to admit I am a late adopter when it comes to consuming media in a new way, so I have not personally participated in any of the live streamed events mentioned in his post, but Swant seems to make a more optimistic case that Twitter can stay relevant in the future.

So far, I’m not completely sold on Twitter and video/live streaming. Combining Alba and Abraham’s thoughts, I have to wonder if Twitter will eventually become a true public utility. We will all accept it as a given, but it will never be a moneymaker. Marketers will use it primarily as a way to provide customer service, more comparable to a call center than as part of a push advertising strategy.

What else should I read on this topic? Any thoughts to add? Please comment below or (haha) find me on Twitter at @RachelLColello.

Doing What You Love with Jennifer Resick Williams [Interview]

Jennifer Resick Williams

Reposting my most popular interview to-date.  Reading about Jennifer’s energy and experience is sure to light a fire under anyone’s butt on a cold day February day – Enjoy!

We’ve all heard the quote: “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Based on today’s profile, we should probably change that to: “Figure out how to combine your professional skill set with a personal passion, and you’ll never be bored a day in your life.”

Jennifer Resick Williams - photo credit: Greg Powers

Introducing Jennifer Resick Williams, Principal and Founder of Know Public Relations. Jennifer has spent more than a decade providing public relations and integrated marketing communications services to restaurants, national and global brands, and non-profit organizations. Prior to founding Know Public Relations, Jennifer was Director for JML marketing + communications. She developed strategic marketing action plans, directed all national and local media relations for hospitality clients, and provided counsel for all marketing platforms and digital media. In less than one year, Jennifer directed launch strategies and generated media coverage for the opening of several prominent Washington, D.C. restaurants, including Graffiato and Rogue 24. Prior to that role, Jennifer was Communications Director for Earth Day Network and the Earth Day 40th anniversary campaign, and she spent over six years at Ketchum Public Relations.

What do you do?

Know Public Relations works with restaurants, chefs and culinary artisans in D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. We help hospitality business owners tell their stories through the media, the web, and other mediums to reach their guests. Our clients include a James Beard Award semi-finalist, two Top Chef finalists, winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars All-Stars, a Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington Chef of the Year, and cookbook authors.

Tell us about a recent success.

We began working with Justin Severino, chef/owner of Cure in Pittsburgh in 2014. Justin is a very talented chef and a leader in the restaurant community in a city with a moderate to low-profile dining scene. In just over a year and a half, we’ve helped to increase Chef Justin’s profile on a national level by leveraging accolades, securing participation in James Beard House and Celebrity Chef Tour events, and working with journalists to visit Cure and see the changing culinary landscape of the city.

This year, Chef Justin received his second consecutive James Beard Award nomination for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic, won The People’s Choice award for Food & Wine’s The People’s Best New Chef Mid-Atlantic, and he was named Chef of the Year by Pittsburgh Magazine. In July, The New York Times, Washington Post, Eater National, and Zagat all ran stories about Pittsburgh as a culinary destination, and nearly all outlets used Chef Justin and Cure as the anchors for their stories. We are very proud to be part of the team that helped Chef Justin earn the success he so well deserves.

How do you stay on top of things day-to-day?

My team works virtually, so calendars, Google Drive, and Dropbox are key to staying connected and well organized. Beyond a meeting organizer, I use my calendar to track deadlines and client deliverables, as well as team whereabouts and personal appointments.

How do you keep your eye on the big picture?

By nature, I’m always looking ahead and planning. I don’t have a formal business plan, but I’m constantly evaluating my clients’ needs against our team’s resources. Know PR has grown steadily over the past three and a half years, and it is rewarding to guide the business as it continues to grow.

On your worst day in the office, how do you put things in perspective?

The old adage “it’s PR, not the ER” is a good reminder that while our careers are fast-paced and high-stress, no one is going to lose a limb over a misplaced comma in a press release. On my worst days, I remind myself of the big picture, the great work my team does for our clients and the pride that comes from working with successful, satisfied independent business owners. I care deeply about my work and my relationships with our clients and the media, so it’s easy to sweat the small stuff when something goes wrong. Reminding myself of the big picture helps keep me even keeled.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting out…

My approach may not be popular with Millennials who want to be their own boss by age 25, but my best advice is to get a broad range of experience before narrowing your expertise. In public relations, that means doing your time at a big agency, developing a transferable skill set, and hopefully working with a range of clients. Once you have seen and done it all, after seven to 10 years, you can write your own ticket and specialize in the type of public relations work most interesting to you.

If you do decide to become an entrepreneur, keep in mind two things. First, you lose your safety net. Being your own boss means you are solely responsible for answering to your clients and answering for your team. There will be hard days, tough decisions, and uncomfortable conversations. Second, find a mentor or set up a network with colleagues in your field to get outside perspectives and keep learning. The day you stop learning is the day you become obsolete.

How do you stay engaged with your work?

My free time and social life were spent steeped in the food world and restaurant industry before I made it my career. I was lucky enough to marry my public relations skills with my personal interests. Fortunately, that means it’s easy for me to stay engaged at work. Unfortunately, that also means it’s difficult to turn it off. Traveling, dining out, and even leisure reading now all feel a little like R&D, but I’m not complaining.


To learn more about Know Public Relations, please visit: http://www.knowpr.com/.  You can also follow Jennifer on Twitter at @JenResick.

I hope to do many more profiles like this one in the future. Any recommendations? Please DM or tweet me @RachelLColello or comment below!

You Can Still Be Productive In Small Chunks of Time

 

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Source: Pexels.com

I love it when people ask me about how my life has changed since having kids. No really, I actually do. It is something I have thought about a lot. And I like being able to assure new parents-to-be that a catastrophe is not looming around the corner – you’ll still be you, but your reality is going to change in some distinct ways.

One of those ways is working in smaller chunks of time rather than big chunks of time. I am a person who LOVES to cross things off of her to-do list. I have been known to add things to my list just so that I can have the satisfaction of crossing them off. I have consistently used a planner since my late teens. And I can still get things done now, even when our toddler is getting over a cold and our baby is just getting one. I just have to be flexible enough to work in smaller chunks of time.

The trendier term for thinking about chunks of time is “time blocking.” To learn more about time blocking, read this Entrepreneur article, this LifeHack article, or read about the Pomodoro Method. In general, it means that you take the unstructured time in your day and block off time to focus on specific tasks (e.g. “I will work on my novel from 5-7AM each morning and then check email from 7-8AM”).

Before kids, I specifically preferred two-hour blocks of time to really dig into projects. I’d work for an hour, take a five or 10-minute break, work for another hour, and then switch tasks entirely. For example, this was perfect for heading to a coffee shop for a few hours in the middle of the day to make demonstrable progress on a large writing project. In both undergrad and grad school, I found that it was the perfect amount of time to focus on one subject at the library, before my eyes crossed and I wanted to run screaming from the building.

It is a rare day that I get two hours of uninterrupted time now. Does this mean I can no longer attempt large projects? Absolutely not! It just means I have to work with different sized chunks of time.

Instead of two hours, now I focus more on one hour, 30-minute, or 15-minute chunks of time. This requires a little discipline in two ways:

First, you need to break your projects down into smaller tasks. Yes, if you had two hours you might be able to crank out a full chapter for your novel. Instead you have 45 minutes. What is a concrete thing that you can complete in 45 minutes and walk away feeling accomplished? Sometimes this requires a little creativity. It often makes more sense for me to outline a project first, where I might have jumped right in in the past. I can accomplish the outline quickly, all my key ideas are then on paper, and when I come back to write I’ll be able complete it a lot faster. I have always been an outliner, but now it is even more of a necessity.

Second, you need to adjust your expectation of progress. Smaller chunks of time often = slower progress. That is OK! As I mentioned recently in a post, #progressnotperfection. You can’t expect to get two hours of work done in 30 minutes. You can get 30 minutes of work done in 30 minutes, and then hit it again another time. You have still moved the needle.

I don’t plan on writing very many #ProfessionalMom posts, but I do think it changes how we think about managing both professional and personal time. Thanks for reading and good luck with your time blocking this week!

Where Do You Save Good Ideas?

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Do you have a system for saving good ideas either when you think of them or when you see/read/hear them?

Kimberly Wilson (I’ve written about her in the past) carries a small idea notebook in her bag to capture thoughts while she’s on the go and she also has a robust planner/organizer system to keep all of her thoughts and plans in one place.

Suzanne Forman, a blogger and fiction writer, also touts the power of a hardcopy idea journal, saying it is invaluable for collecting thoughts about her stories or future content in the heat of the moment, no matter where she is or what she is doing.

Copyblogger published a useful and detailed post on saving good ideas for content – strongly recommending that readers choose one method of collecting good ideas (digital or manual) and stick with it.

I love the idea of collecting good ideas. I struggle with the practice of keeping them all in one place.

I keep ideas everywhere. I have a multiple public and private Pinterest boards. I save good articles on Facebook, my Apple News app, and Feedly. I keep a journal in my bedroom because I try not to use technology there. I keep multiple notes in my phone, some of which stay on my phone and some of which sync to my laptop.  I used to be an avid post-it user, but I’ve mostly weaned off of those to save paper.

But I have to be honest… this has yet to be a problem for me. I can almost always go back and find an idea if I need it. And if I just want to brainstorm ideas for a new blog post, then I pick a location and skim through it before moving on to the next one. Yes, I could absolutely be more organized. But maybe this is a situation where organization for the sake of organization isn’t truly critical.

Do you have a system for saving good ideas that you love? Convince me!

You Can Survive the Work Day on No Sleep (The Second Baby Version)

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I read through this original post today and couldn’t help but laugh at myself. Don’t get me wrong, when she was tiny, baby girl #1 woke up just as much as any other newborn. But then she stopped… completely. Her worst nights after about four months of age meant one or two wake-ups at most. Baby girl #2? She scoffs at any type of predictable wake-up schedule.

So what would I change about this post now that I REALLY know what sleep deprivation is like? A couple things…

Bright lights help.

Seriously, anytime you have to sit still, access as much natural light and/or bright light as possible. It will trick your brain into wanting to be awake, no matter how physically tired you are.

Again, do not sleep in.

I know it seems crazy, but I actually find that I need more time to wake up in the morning when I’ve had a rough night’s sleep. Getting up 30 minutes earlier means I get to sit with a cup of coffee before I try to think or make any decisions. Your brain isn’t firing on all cylinders when you get less than five hours of sleep (it’s the same as being drunk), so don’t try to make it work hard before it has a chance to wake up.

Fit in a laugh or a supportive pep talk.

Spy agencies use sleep deprivation as a torture tactic for a reason. It can really mess with you. It is best to acknowledge this and address it head on. Plan some fun in your day, whether that means fitting in 15 minutes of Family Guy while you eat dinner or calling a funny friend from the car while you commute. Keep your spirits up and your entire day will go more smoothly.

Otherwise, I think the standard advice applies. Check out my original post about surviving the work day on no sleep and share your thoughts below!

 

Not Everyone Wants My Business

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We know that the retail industry is changing rapidly. Leaders like Amazon, Target, Nordstrom, and a handful of others are changing what consumers expect from their shopping experience.

I look at it this way. As a marketer, I know that not every business should target every customer. If you try to please everyone, you please no one. So if a business isn’t making it easy for me to buy, then I must not be their target customer and they must not want my business.

Remember the old Jeff Foxworthy line, “You might be a redneck if…”?  A similar line works well in this context.

You don’t want my business if…

You want to charge me $100 to ship $75 worth of merchandise – all of which is already in a box (i.e. not art or furniture). At least offer a “ship to store” option.

You want to sell me a truly beautiful, high quality rug in the four or five figure range… but have no way of sending a fabric or dye sample so that I can check to see if it will match the other fabrics in my room. The only option is to order the rug and hope it works, or pay a FOUR FIGURE restocking fee if it needs to be returned. (NOTE: I realize this is probably an industry standard. Fine. I am not your target customer.)

You take me through a detailed sales process with lots of one-on-one attention… and then ignore me when I inquire about why my deliveries are MIA, months off of the timeline you promised.

(This is my personal favorite)
You sell me a dispenser that takes refills… and then you stop selling the refills at our local store. You also take them off of your website, but you tell me that I am welcome to call a customer service representative who can tell me which stores across the nation still have the refills… and then I can call those stores and ask them to ship me the refills I want, if they still have them in stock.

This occurred just one year after I bought said dispenser. It blows my mind. Fine, discontinue the refills after a year – it happens and I understand that risk. But to put all of the work of tracking down your available stock back into the customer’s hands blows my mind. Seriously – there are at least four other ways you could have handled this situation that would not have left such a nasty taste in my mouth. I haven’t set foot in the store since and I make fun of them all the time.

I would love to hear your stories!  Share on our Facebook page or on Twitter. #YouDontWantMyBusiness

Sitting Balls Down and Picking Them Back Up

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So I’ve started to write this blog post about five times. Each time it sounded like I was making excuses for letting the blog go dormant over the last year. Instead let me say this –

Sometimes balls drop and sometimes we have to sit them down for a while.

In late 2015, I was blessed in two ways. First, after some hard work and lots of networking, my pipeline of freelance projects filled to capacity. I was happily busy and employed for many months. It felt great to see my efforts pay off and to expand my client relationships.

Second, my husband and I found out we were pregnant with baby girl #2. We were beyond thrilled with the news… which is a good thing, because it made the HORRIBLE morning sickness a little easier to bear. Unfortunately, my morning sickness lasts a lot longer than the morning and it turns me into an exhausted, cranky, sick nightmare.

Because of our two blessings, I had to take a hard look at my to-do list and decide which balls I was going to keep up in the air, which balls could be thrown away, and which balls I needed to temporarily sit down. I chose to sit the blog ball down for a while, until I could pick it up again with confidence.

Now that our feisty baby girl #2 is here and crawling (yikes!), and my professional life is once again chugging along nicely, I am excited to revisit The Stay Engaged Project. I am not able to commit to multiple weekly postings as I once was, but to steal a hash tag from a good friend, #progressnotperfection will be my motto.

Any burning questions or topics that you would like me to address? Updates on the world to share? Leave a comment or speak up on our Facebook page!

Thanks for reading – feels good to be back 🙂