Etikettarkiv: listening

Sponsored journalism – always dishonest and lacking in integrity?

In Sweden, and I guess elsewhere as well, there’s an ongoing discussion about sponsored journalism and that it’s dishonest to the readers. But is it? Can it even be that it is more honest?

We all know it – good journalism cost. It’s that simple, and more and more we’re getting used to “free” journalism, so it’s harder for the traditional outlets to finance their business. I put free between brackets because there is no such thing as free, sooner or later someone must pay. But I’m more discussing integrity here. Because there is a sense that sponsored journalism lacks integrity and only exist as a kind of infotainment. This time around it was a piece on the Swedish radio about one major Swedish newspaper that had started a co-operation with an auction house and thanks to that was able to offer high-quality articles on the art market. The sponsored journalists did not hide under which circumstances the articles have been produced. In other words it was clear that the content is produced in collaboration with this auction house. The radio journalists approached the subject under the assumption that sponsored journalism is dishonest and lacking integrity, and that “their” type of journalism is so much better. But “their” journalism is state sponsored through taxes, so how free is that? It is perceived so because we don’t see the direct relationship between the funds and the result, but is not only a perception? Can’t it be that sponsored content is much more honest and show higher integrity because the sender is (or at least should be) clearly identified and I as a reader know this? If I know that an article on pain management is written by pharma company producing a certain pain remedy I take that into account when I read the text. When I read a text by a journalist specialised in pharma I can’t be sure of the sources, and as a PR with a fair few years of competence in working with the press under my belt, I know for a fact that “sponsored” content i.e. successful pitch, is not unusual.

Can it be that openly sponsored journalism has higher integrity than we give it credit for? What say you?

Change at the Grassroots – How to Attract Government Attention

Being heard and enacting social reform is not just a problem under authoritarian regimes. Even in democracies, where newspapers have been filled with headlines on people crying out for change, we see little development or legislative change.

The Occupy Movement saw thousands of people protest the international capitalist system, camping in sub-zero temperatures for months on end; while thousands of students in the UK took to the streets to protest against rising tuition fees and its effects on social mobility. From Syrian citizens to Sri Lanka’s Tamils, from American activists to China’s Tibetan monks, people in every corner of the world are crying out for change.

The only two examples (I can think of) where the grassroots managed was the Pirate movement against the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement, ACTA, that got voted down in the European Parliament, and the tragic desperation of Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi that led to the Arab Spring.

With little relative change, it begs the question, is anyone listening? What about us ‘little people’? Also, do we want it? Because while it is enticing with the image of David vs. Goliath, the fact is that some of the changes that happened through grassroot protests can be considered as revolutions through violence.

Here are a couple of points which will help you achieve attention of governments and help you lobby your case. In short, persistence and preparation are key.

Article originally published on Grassroot Diplomat:

“It’s nothing personal” – “Please don’t take it as a reflection of your competencies” ‑ so they say

When applying for jobs one must grow rhinoceros hide and learn to accept rejection after rejection. Of course I get disappointed when I get a no, I mean I applied for the job. At the same time, it goes without saying that in a hiring process the company should identify and hire the person they feel can do the job. Identifying the right candidate is after all the goal with any hiring exercise, no question about it. And in a hiring situation there are more concerns to take into account than I can being to understand.

However, the thing I find hardest to handle are the comments that comes with the rejections, the ones going along the line of “It’s nothing personal and please don’t take it as a reflection of your competencies.”

You know what? With the risk of sounding like Donna Corleone, this IS personal. We are talking about my competencies, my experiences. It is me, myself and I that is weighed and found too light. I am the one rejected, not the competition. Of course I accept the message. There is after all not much else to do.

10 tips for better Social Public Relations

Yes, folks Social Public Relations is my own invention because by now I think the two should merge. And in fact I don’t even have a list of my own 10 top tips, well I do but I have copied it from the great blog Useful Social Media, read them and then tell me – how does these differ from “traditional” PR tips?

1. Listening
2. Nurturing
3. Sharing
4. Leadership
5. Engaging
6. Responsiveness
7. Patience
8. Writing
9. Newsworthy
10. Unpretentious

No, in no way do I want to belittle or waft away Social Media by claiming plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. On the contrary, I think Social Media is for us communicators what Dewey decimal system is for librarians. And being born sociable I love the instantness, the response, the contacts, the networking, the chattiness, the learning…

I’ve said it before and I say so again, finally PR and Corporate Communications is where it should be – in a position where we can have a conversation with our stakeholders be they internal or external.

But what we tend to forget in our strife to be adaptable, to ensure that traditional PR still has a value, that we that have passed the horrible 30’s still think we have a market value, to show that subject matter insights still matter; you name it is that Social media are tools. Properly used they can be devilish efficient. But, if we have nothing to say of value; well, much as it pains any chatty person to say so but then old fact remains:

Silence is Golden.




Hints on listening…

When social media first made it big there was a lot of noise about the importance of companies listening to their customers talking on these channels. Everyone has their own preferred method of communication, and many folks are turning to the social web to share their thoughts and ideas about life and about your business. Social media is just another piece of the communications puzzle, and it’s become a regular part of our existence. Social media listening (or monitoring, or however you want to call it) is a non-stop effort. Will it need amending? Yes. Will it change? Yep, it might not even be recognizable in a year should you push it aside for bigger and better? Well, have you pushed your telephones aside for email? Let’s look at what listening might entail:

Hint 1: Refine, refine, refine.

Since social media have been around a while and actually, despite (or thanks to) the hype chances are you’ve already got a listening program in place. Should you feel it’s not providing you with the results needed you might want to review both programme and strategy. Below are few thoughts – what do you think?

Review your keyword search terms and phrases. Review frequency is normally based on factors like new product releases, industry speed, the goals of your listening programme, and the flow of conversation around your brand. To start, make a monthly review and reduce or increase the frequency of that review as needed.

Review the metrics and goals of your listening programme. You’ll very likely have to adjust your goals to account for the findings of these listening efforts. Companies often start off listening to everything about their brand and industry. That kind of listening is overwhelming and sometimes useless because the sheer amount of information. After that initial listening phase, use the data from your efforts to target on the forward-thinking, future-driven conversations that will matter most to your company’s progress. While of course keeping an eye on the Johnses’s …

Hint 2: Process what you hear.

It is too easy not to do anything with what you’ve heard. If that information isn’t being processed and acted upon, what’s the point?

Create seamless workflows. Well, THAT’S easy to say, isn’t it? Nevertheless, it will be key to your social media strategy to create simple but efficient workflows that ensure that social media input and results are steered into the right parts of your organization. In simple terms you need to lay out who, what, how, when, where, and why of your responses to comments and questions. The difficulty is that comments are often cross-functional which might make it difficult to nail “who’s responsible.” In order to avoid bottlenecks, you’ll very likely need cross-functional processes for listening. This might mean assigning a social media listening role to one person in each department.

Filter. You might never be able to respond to all questions, comments, and recommendations. Ensure answers to the issues that matters most by creating a database of feedback and recommendations and establish a rating system to identify which of those pieces of feedback make the most sense to act on.

Acknowledge those who contribute to your brand conversation, but don’t feel obligated to fulfil every request.