Actor Matt Damon has come under fire for his comments about sexual misconduct in the entertainment business. Perhaps he should just button it? We discussed this and the Ottawa Senators’ owner Eugene Melnyk’s inflammatory remarks along with the growing Ottawa care home scandal on the PowerLunch with host Mark Sutcliffe and city Councillor Rick Chiarelli.
There is no 'holiday lull' in social media! Facebook, Instagram, Microsoft, Twitter have launched new features and/or platforms.
Facebook users can now hit 'snooze'
Facebook now allows users to ‘hit the snooze button’. It means people can temporarily unfollow a person, Page or group for 30 days. This is a risk for brands posting too often or posting boring or salesy content.
Twitter is sporting some cool new 'threads'
New Twitter threads are here. By tapping the plus button when composing a tweet, users can connect many tweets and publish the thread together. Long form content has come to Twitter and provides new opportunities for engagement to brands.
Is Microsoft taking on TripAdvisor?
A new travel app from Microsoft, Outings, helps explorers discover and search for interesting places near and far and is available for iOS and Android. Travel and local content providers are invited to connect with the Outings team about providing content for the app.
More evidence that blogging delivers real content marketing results
A whopping 85 per cent of bloggers report positive results from content marketing. This infographic nicely summarizes blogging trends and best practices for 2018.
Instagram is making the holidays a bit more fun
Instagram is introducing four new creative tools. Users can now superzoom videos and use festive face filters and holiday stickers. iPhone users have new colour filters.
Contact me to put the latest innovation in social media to work for you.
The good news for PR professionals is that industry studies predict a six per cent growth in jobs over the next seven years. The bad news is that the profession is transforming profoundly and the skills you have today will not be enough to compete tomorrow.
Being an excellent writer is still, and always will be, paramount, but I know a few ex-journalists who can’t land a communications job despite their obvious talents and track records for success. Having a solid knowledge of the media industry and good contacts are both probably more important now than ever before, but with industry consolidation and newsrooms downsizing, change is the only constant.
Today’s successful PR pros, like those of yesterday, are excellent problem solvers with creative minds. Good ones also bring a natural curiosity to their work. They strive to learn how things work and put in the time and effort to dig deeper. They pull actionable insights from data, they experiment and are always innovating.
As a minimum, today’s PR pros possess an arts degree as well as a college diploma or certificate in public relations, but this is no longer enough. They need to have SEO expertise and digital advertising know-how. They need to be able to create content across multi-formats and to write code. And they need be bona fide social media and inbound marketing experts.
This is where new industry certifications come into play, and Google Adwords and Analytics are great starting points. Adwords certification demonstrates basic and advanced proficiency in online advertising. With Analytics certification demonstrates the ability to understand data and provide insight.
In addition to the foundational Google certifications, professional communicators would benefit from gaining other industry certifications. Facebook Blueprint certification demonstrates advanced knowledge of advertising buying and planning and Twitter Flight School demonstrates mastery over Twitter advertising campaigns.
HubSpot and Hootsuite both offer certification too. Hubspot provides recognition of inbound marketing skills and knowledge and Hootsuite demonstrates expertise with essential elements of social media.
Most of the course materials for these certifications are available for free and the test fees are nominal. Having them on your CV is set you apart as a candidate and give you a competitive edge.
The Canadian newspaper industry has, so far, been unsuccessful in securing a Federal government bailout as readers flock to social media for news and entertainment and advertisers follow them. But the backroom deal between competing newspaper publishing companies Postmedia and TorStar must surely up the ante.
The agreement sees the two national organizations exchange ownership of 41 community and commuter newspapers and then shutter most of them, but it’s the fault of industry disruption according to the news release announcing the deal.
This is a bad deal, not only for the almost 300 news media professionals who are out of a job, but because reporting local news is important to our communities. Canadians love their community newspapers; it’s where they turn for local news and information about sports, entertainment and events. They even like to see the local advertisements.
But there’s the rub. With the consolidation of the community newspaper business under two large corporations, local reporting has already been in decline for years. Newsrooms are increasingly depleted with often only one paid journalist on staff, making original reporting almost impossible. Community papers are now largely filled with generic, syndicated content and semi-advertorial stories and columns. And, with advertising sales centralized and more regional than local, even the relevance of ads is hurt. Where’s the reader value?
Communities want, and need, local news, not just a freesheet stuffed with ads. And now, the only incentive left for news corporations to invest in the quality of local news reporting, competition for advertising dollars, is wiped out in a neat backroom deal. And it was done with no apology.
“What makes this particularly difficult is that it means we will say goodbye to many dedicated newspaper people. However, the continuing costs of producing dozens of small community newspapers in these regions in the face of significantly declining advertising revenues means that most of these operations no longer have viable business models,” said PostMedia CEO Paul Godfrey.
Someone more cynical than I might suspect this deal was designed to provoke action on a government bailout. Earlier this year newspaper publishers asked the Federal government to provide $350 million annually and to change the tax code to help them compete with Facebook and Google for advertising budgets.
With no government rescue yet in the offing, is the news industry doubling down by sacrificing community newspapers?
Update: Andrea, who is the editor and publisher of a local newspaper in the Ottawa area, has some great advice for people who want to support local news. Click here.
Fake news is nothing new (think of the National Enquirer founded in 1926), but with last year’s Brexit and US election votes, it’s certainly become more sinister. A certain leader of the free world bandies the term about to denigrate negative media coverage but that’s not an accurate definition. Fake news today, is not “Hillary Clinton Adopts Alien Baby’ type stories. Its pure propaganda published online with the deliberate purpose of spreading misinformation.
The implications for democracy are clear. And so are the possible ramifications for the global technology companies whose products and platforms are being used to spread fake news – loss of trust among users, reputational damage, increased regulation, reduced access to markets, and more.
Hot on the heels of having been compelled to answer questions from a Senate committee hearing on Russian interference in the US election, Twitter and Facebook have both introduced new ‘transparency’ policies, features and functions.
Facebook announced it’s testing new ‘Trust Indicators’. This initiative is part of the Trust Project, an international consortium of news and digital companies collaborating to build confidence in the news media. Trust Indicators include information on news publisher ethics, corrections, and fact-checking policies as well ownership structure and masthead information. Facebook users will be able to see this information to provide context to evaluate the credibility of the stories they are reading.
Soon Canadian Facebook users will be able to click on a ‘view ads’ button on any page to see the ads running on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. Anyone will be able to see these ads, even if they are not the intended audience. After initial testing in Canada the feature will be rolled out in the USA. Interestingly, American federal election ads will be under even more scrutiny. Planned transparency features include:
- A searchable archive covering a rolling four-year period.
- Displayed details on the total spend.
- Displayed number of impressions.
- Displayed audience demographics information.
Twitter too, has announced steps to increase the transparency of ads on its platform. It’s creating an ‘Advertising Transparency Centre’ to offer visibility into advertisers and the ads they post and provide a feedback mechanism for users. The centre will allow show all current ads, information about campaign length and the creative behind ads. It will also allow users to see ads that have been specifically targeted at them and the information advertisers are using to target them.
Political ads, or as Twitter calls them electioneering ads, will have a distinct look, and will be clearly labeled.
The transparency centre will disclose the total campaign spend for electioneering ads and who’s behind them. It will also show targeting demographics and historical data about the advertiser.
Twitter has also updated its policies to include stricter requirements on who can serve electioneering ads and is introducing strong penalties for advertisers who violate policies.
These are significant changes, but will they be enough to restore users’ trust? Among Canadians, social media companies rank lower for trustworthiness than banks, telecoms companies and big pharma, according to a survey by Environics. In a survey published by Advertising Standards Canada, roughly 60 per cent of Canadians said they were not comfortable with the truth and accuracy of social media ads.
These transparency measures are a step in the right direction, but the problem is complex. It will take more than a few policy changes and new buttons to fix a fundamental lack of media literacy among most social media users.
If you’d like to learn more about Facebook and Twitter as advertising platforms, I’d love to have a chat. Click here to set up a call.