Peter Shankman has my number, ““Think about how you feel when a competitor lands a great media hit and you’re shut out. Chaps your hide, makes you work ten times as hard, right?”
Yes, when I see people like Shankman and Seth Godin becoming marketing gods on the Internet, it does “chaps my hide.” Why them?
Of course on my own Linkedin page, I explain Marketing Sociology, 'Any new theory is first attacked as absurd," said author William James. "Then it is admitted to be true but obviously insignificant. Finally, it is seen to be so important that its adversaries claim that they, themselves, have discovered it.”
What do you do when someone is achieving something you’re not? Study them. That’s how I improved when I moved from journalism to public relations. I ran to San Diego and met Allen Center and Glen Broom, authors of “Effective Public Relations.” I met Dr. Otis Baskin, who was soon to become head of Pepperdine’s business school; and author of “Public Relations: The Profession and Practice.”
I met Chester Burger, one of my biggest influences. Even before my journalism career began, I crossed paths with Marvin “Swede” Johnson who has a building named after him at the University of Arizona. He followed me to University of New Mexico and ended his career at Coor’s as the head of its communications department. He followed me from my teen years through my 30s. I’ve been blessed by running into marketing professionals to guide me, like Jim Meiggs, formerly of Honeywell, and Curt Linke of John Deere.
So as a good Marketing Sociologist, I didn’t get mad. I delved into both Shankman’s and Godin’s books.
I dove into Shankman first. There’s a connection. I love HARO – Help a Reporter Out and I’m jealous I wasn’t as brilliant as Shankman to think of the idea. So in my view, he’s an entrepreneur as he says on his Web site.
I read “Can We Do That?!” Any marriage counselor will always tell you to start with the positive. Shankman’s book gave me at least one good idea. ”Make sure you don’t expect one piece of media to skyrocket you to fame. Sure, it seems like that’s how it happens, but believe me – it doesn’t. It’s consistent, repeated stories in publications all around the spectrum, over and over, that lead to good press.”
How I felt (counselors teach you to talk this way) after reading the book is that it was targeted towards the majority of public relations practitioners your company is paying between $150 to $500 per hour for – young, inexperienced and probably an intern- current or very recently.
My favorite book for building public relations knowledge, outside of Center and Cutlip’s, as well as Baskin’s textbooks, is “Experts In Action: Inside Public Relations,” by Bill Cantor (edited by Chester Burger).
Now for Godin. I’ve read his blog because it seems EVERY expert on Linkedin quotes him. Yes, he chapped my hide much more than Shankman. I’m not even sure he has a college degree. After reading his book, he’s not the young whipper snapper I thought he was. We’re both pretty much Bruce Springsteen’s age – and look at the head of hair he has, Mr. Godin!
So with loathing and seething I read the intro of his book, “Meatball Sundae.”
Something happened. By the fourth regular page, I said, “Self, this guy’s good. Really good.” Yikes! I became a Godin convert. Am I going to drink the Kool-Aid?
As the marketing world’s longest proponent of YouTube, I loved stuff like this: “The explosion of media alternatives is so pervasive that it’s easy to forget what an impact it has had on viewers and advertisers. You can watch (to pick a bunch randomly): Classic Arts Showcase, Ovation TV, Anime Network, BabyfirstTV, Boomeragne, Cartoon Network, Discovery Kids, Disney Channel, Toon Disney, Kung Fu HD, CN8, Fashion TV, Sc FI Channel, Sleuth Channel, SOAPnet, WE: Women’s Entertainment, Black Family Channel (formerly MBC Networ), Fox Sports en Espanol, RTP International (Portugal), Turbo, Discovery Home, Fine Living, ThrillerMax, Gospel Music Television, Angel One, National Jewish Television or the NFL Network.”
Also, “It is possible to buy carefully targeted TV advertising for a few hundred dollars. It’s easy to buy extremely targeted online advertising for ten cents a click.
“Translation: You can buy tiny slices of attention for a fraction of what it cost just a decade ago.”
Preaching to the choir, “YouTube now carries more than 7-million videos. Though the average length of a video on the site is about five minutes, most videos are watched for less than ten seconds. Ten seconds is all you get to prove whether the view ought to invest another ten seconds, and if you get someone to stick until the end, you’ve hit a home run.
“Another way of looking at it: More people watched more video on YouTube last week than watched the top ten shows on network television.” Wonder if Godin is as big a fan of “Hammer and Coop” as I am?
Even current, “Detroit’s business is anchored in its ability to make large numbers of average cars for the middle of the market.”
He even framed how I’ve been able to have a 97 percent placement rate for all my press releases. “…I’d take a longer-term approach. First, I’d identify the blogs that actually do have an interest in what I’m trying to have featured. And then I’d read them.
“Over time, I’d start interacting with those bloggers. Submitting relevant links that have nothing to do with my company. Posting comments on the field in general. Becoming part of the circle – a contributor, not an interloper.
“Then, months or even years later, when I have something relevant to add, I can send a truly personal note to someone I’ve interacted with. And that note will get read and thought about and perhaps even posted.”
My tactic for PR success was – be a journalist, think like a journalist. I’ve always been a journalist. I call reporters and give them ideas. I point out errors and where to improve (check Terrible Journalism below). They invite me to write, I didn’t need to pitch. It’s how I got my gig at Billboard, Arizona Republic and more.
Some big take-aways from “Meatball Sundae:”
“Market leaders are threatened “
“Some organizations are going to watch in disbelief as the world changes.”
“At the same time that there are whole new ways to market, the tactics of building a business haven’t caught up yet.”