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Gini Dietrich

Bootstrapping Your PR

By: Gini Dietrich | March 24, 2011 | 
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It’s Facebook question of the week time (clap, clap, clap)!

This week’s question comes from Danny Brown, the co-founder at Bonsai Interactive, founder of 12for12K, and all-around good guy (most days).

He asks:

What are your top three tools if you’re a small business and want to bootstrap your PR?

I give you two tools in the video, but leave the third to you.

If you can’t see the video in your RSS feed and you’re DYING to know which tools I recommend, click here and it’ll magically appear.

And don’t forget to head over to our Facebook wall and leave a question there. I think I only have one more to answer before I’m through the current list!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

74 comments
AbbieF
AbbieF

Two-fold response to third idea -- speaking engagements/bylined articles. It is a bit time consuming, but offering to be a speaker at industry functions can be a valuable tool in getting yourself in front of potential clients. Often these organizations have newsletters (online or print) and your speech becomes a possible article as well.

wabbitoid
wabbitoid

Excellent stuff - google alerts has always been my li'l secret, so I'm a bit sad you revealed it. As for a third tool that I think is essential, I'd say Constant Contact is my #1 after the obvious twitter/facebook stuff (since I mostly do consumer/hospitality accounts I have to rate them highly). Staying in touch about 1/month with people who want to know what you are doing is very important!

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

I love Google Alerts as well Gini... The content I want to know about right now is conveniently delivered to my email box everyday -- very cool indeed : )

JuliaStewartPR
JuliaStewartPR

Hi Gini -- Please pan your bookcase for us one day, I'm curious what all you've got up there. Google Alerts gets my top vote too, who needs to pay for a clipping service anymore. And the ROI it delivers for small businesses is tremendous. As for my #3, I'm still on the hunt for a good listening station. We'll have to get your sock monkey together with my flying monkey sometime soon!

joey_strawn
joey_strawn

Google Alerts, yay! I'm a HUGE fan and use them every day. I'm actually using them for the rewards program that you're fighting so desperately to win (Leader board coming soon, BTW). I have all the alerts set up to flow into my Google Reader in real-time (except for some) so I can always have a flow of news and info. Although they aren't perfect GA are perfect for someone doing it all themselves. Great question @Danny Brown and great answer, Gini!

cadelacruz
cadelacruz

I'm a new follower, but I wanted to add that it was still important to continue relationships on in person and online. I work for a non-profit with very limited funds, so having close relationships with individuals in other fields is EXTREMELY important. What's worked out for us is being able to get things started on a grass roots level.

Jon Stow
Jon Stow

Thanks, Gini. Good short video and great points and monkey. I use Facebook, Twitter with a business which is both B2B and B2C and I gained B2B income through Twitter, so while I agree with you, no rule ia absolute. I also agree that Google Alerts is essential to know what is being said about us as well as how far we have reached.

Yes, we need to comment on other bloggers' sights, and here I am. :-) However, being busy like everyone else, i wouldn't subscribe unless I knew you always delivered.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hi miss,

Thanks a lot for answering my question - see, you can be nice too! ;)

Agree on the GA option - such an immense tool and sooo underused (although some of the results can be hit and miss).

Would you suggest someone using a college or University student that's taking comms or PR as their study to come in on internship and help small businesses understand the mechanics, or is that setting up for failure?

Cheers, miss! :)

Marcus_Sheridan
Marcus_Sheridan

Hey Gini, great advice and great little vid here. Google alerts, like you said, is easily one of the most underutilized PR tools out there. It helps me so much not to miss the 'mentions' of myself or my company (or competitors) that I may have missed and fell through the cracks.

Thanks for all you do.

Marcus

jennimacdonald
jennimacdonald

Gini thanks for the post. The Response Campaign is something I agree with and need to constantly remember.

On another note...I just started blogging and I've only done video blogs so far. I've been told that I need to remember to smile, so I always think of your smiling face on your video blogs when I'm doing mine. Thanks for the inspiration! : )

BestRoofer
BestRoofer

Thanks Gini. I like the sock monkey too. I think that Linked in is a great tool for small business people whether they are B to B or straight to the consumer. Also, I have gotten commercial and residential leads from Facebook and Twitter. Like anything else, it's all about creating relationships. Like we have, for which I am thankful.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@AbbieF Yes, very time-consuming, but HUGE ROI! We get about 30 percent of our business from speaking.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@wabbitoid I'm sorry I revealed it. LOL! Great point about Constant Contact - I love them too. Have you tried NutShell? I didn't even think of that tool until just now.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@JuliaStewartPR LOL! OK - I will do that!

I'm VERY happy with Spiral16 for listening and monitoring. We pay about $500 a month and it's worth every penny.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@cadelacruz What?! You want me to keep building relationships?? Sigh...so demanding. :) Very, very good insight. I always say social does not replace the need to look at each other's eyeballs.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Jon Stow Hi Jon! Fun seeing you here!! Totally agree that you don't subscribe to a blog unless there is value. Which is why using Google alerts (I also use SmartBrief) is so important. You can find stories within your industry, that way, to comment on...especially if you have a differing opinion.

John Falchetto
John Falchetto

@Danny Brown Brilliant idea, should have thought about this sooner. Perhaps making them community manager for said small business?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Danny Brown Are you pushing my buttons on purpose?! I think if you don't have the sophistication to understand communication then hiring a college student to do some of the back-end work will work. But I would not recommend having the college student become the face of your company. That's the work the small business owner needs to do.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Marcus_Sheridan It seriously blows my mind when I ask who is using alerts and one or two people in the entire audience raises their hand.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@jennimacdonald I think it's silly that you don't have the confidence to write blog posts (but I do love your videos). You write really well...you just need to do a few to get comfortable with it. I have an idea! I'm going to email you something to use in your videos.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@BestRoofer Shall I have my mom make you a sock monkey, too!? I'd love you to expand on using LinkedIn. I don't like it for anything but finding candidates and checking references.

Shonali
Shonali

@ginidietrich Thanks to your mentioning Spiral16 when you and I were on @hackmanj's podcast - and also the fact that I met @scenestealreric when I was just in KC, I checked 'em out too. Very, VERY nice platform.

joey_strawn
joey_strawn

@ginidietrich haha, nonsense. You gotta keep track of what people are saying. We're living in the NOW Revolution. : )

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@John Falchetto @Danny Brown NO, JOHN, NO!!! A student doesn't have the business experience, yet, to know how to handle the real-time world in which we live. I do NOT recommend it. At all. (Not that I have an opinion on it).

jennimacdonald
jennimacdonald

@ginidietrich Thanks Gini. I'll keep that in mind and dedicate my first written word post to you! Looking forward to the email.

mdbarber
mdbarber

@Danny Brown @Shonali @ginidietrich @John Falchetto Another post Danny? That's a book or two or three! ;-) Seriously I think we're on the same page. I just see so many young people, especially working in nonprofits and small businesses, who are by themselves and there's no one to guide them so they really can't learn or succeed.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@mdbarber @Shonali @ginidietrich @John Falchetto Oh, agree 100% - but then that's where the business owner comes in. The intern (or junior) is there for the value and experience *they* bring - the rest is up to the boss to guide. Of course, even brilliant interns fail under crappy bosses, but that's another post altogether... ;-)

mdbarber
mdbarber

@Danny Brown @Shonali @ginidietrich @John Falchetto I hear what you're saying but just feel that without the strategic and feet on the ground experience you get from several years, you are setting someone up to fail. It's certain that, over the course of a year, an intern gains experience but I still don't think they can be out there alone without guidance from a more seasoned professional. But, I'm likely over-valuing myself too! I find myself doing lots of mentoring now and haven't seen a lot of pros one year out of college with experience in strategic planning and crisis. If we're looking at just pushing messages out and answering incoming, maybe but that's not what most businesses need either.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@Shonali @ginidietrich @mdbarber @John Falchetto I think that comes down to the college, not the intern. It may be different in the U.S., but we could (theoretically) have an intern for a complete year. Compare that to a lot of AE's who bail at the first opportunity of what they see as a better opportunity, and I'd give a lot more opps to interns than I would an AE.

As I mentioned earlier, maybe we've been really lucky with our interns. But I'd like to think that it's because they value real opportunities as opposed to money grabbers that a lot of AEs can be.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@Mark_Harai @ginidietrich @John Falchetto Mark, love your comment mate, and covers perfectly what I was trying to convey.

At Bonsai, we have interns working on client projects, and we give them a LOT of leeway. We're also there encouraging them to ask questions, and our clients are fully aware of their involvement. They work the ass of some "pros" I know, and are more savvy from a common sense angle than seasoned idiots. And we all know common sense goes a LONG way in a successful business.

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

@ginidietrich @John Falchetto @Danny Brown Give them keys, no... but, you're future social media starts of the future will get their break from someone in your position Gini. Or Danny. Or John. Or?

There will be mistakes made along the way, but the talent is there, someone is going to be giving breaks to young talent and providing them wings to fly.

One of the greatest rewards in life is to helping a young professional change their life and get to the top of their game.

I think one worthwhile legacy (part of) to leave in any industry is being known for making and creating the talent that drives industry.

That will require trust be given to those whom you believe can rise to the occasion and get the job done. At least you'll be spot on most of the time : P

Shonali
Shonali

@ginidietrich @mdbarber @Danny Brown I would never give a blanket "ok" to letting a student/intern run with this, and I'm also 99% certain that even if they were really great, they would not be the face of the efforts (i.e. outward-facing) because they're temporary, and the company is not.

However, I would see what they needed in terms of training, etc. - possibly more in terms of the company history and so on - and then give them varying degrees of responsibility WITH accountability, and ALWAYS with supervision.

So I give a little to Danny, but weigh in on Gini's side for the most part. If we're taking sides. :p

@John Falchetto IMHO there's a big difference between Gini's experience as an AE and an intern. The assumption with an AE is that they are there for a while. Not so with interns. Not to mention every individual must be assessed on their own strengths and weaknesses, and clearly Gini's strengths, even as an AE, outweighed her weaknesses, which is why she was not fired in that particular situation.

Having said that, I have ONCE in my life come across an intern to whom I'd trust my life. Of course, she was an intern, so she moved on. If I'm ever in a position to hire her again, I will (she's doing all sorts of awesome stuff in the CA/tech world now).

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@mdbarber @John Falchetto @Danny Brown Remember when the Sun-Times did the story on Edelman and their reverse mentoring program? I really came down hard on them because the managing director of the Chicago office was quoted as saying, "OMG! I have 50 friends on Facebook!" But, I agree with Mary (and Edelman) that the digital natives can teach seasoned pros (and small business owners) how to use the tools if they're paired with a mentor on the business side of things.

mdbarber
mdbarber

@ginidietrich @John Falchetto @Danny Brown I'm going to jump in on Gini's side here. I agree that students tend to be digital natives and understand some of the tools a lot better than us "seasoned" pros do but they are really inexperienced when it comes to planning and seeing the whole picture. If there's a way to pair a student/new grad with a mentor to provide training and guidance I could see it working but NEVER on their own. It's setting them up to fail and the small biz to have a bad taste about PR. I've seen it happen too many times, and know I probably will again.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@John Falchetto @Danny Brown I totally agree that everyone deserves a chance and that, within reason, there are some things an intern can help a small business owner do. And it definitely depends on the person. But I think we'd be setting some (if not most) up for failure if we handed them the client or company social media keys.

John Falchetto
John Falchetto

@ginidietrich I tend to agree with Mr Brown today. I think some youngsters understand social media a lot better than older corporate community managers. If we look at the recent SM fails they weren't because of an intern (Chrysler, Red Cross, Air France)

You wrote about your experience as an AE recently and I think everyone should be given a chance. Obviously within reason.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@ginidietrich @John Falchetto I think it depends, Gini - it's not a clear-cut blanket position across all industries and business sizes. Additionally, there are a lot of smart young people out there that have a far better business acumen than many business owners that have 20 years experience.

Would I recommend handling a complete account over to a junior or intern? No. Would I include them heavily and give them the responsibility of online client work if I feel they're capable of it? Definitely.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Danny Brown @John Falchetto Boy...I just don't agree with that at all. Sure they're digital natives, but they've never had the experience of transferring their personal online activities to business. I feel the same way about letting an intern or newly graduated professional pitch the media or meet with clients. Ain't gonna happen.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@ginidietrich @John Falchetto Not for the strategy, agree, and company owner is far better as face of company. But say a small business only has $1,000 (or less) for their whole annual spend on promotion and relations. Having someone who's comfortable in the space anyhoo (digital natives) and is getting great business advice through their course could offer a great and low-cost alternative to a full-on community manager.

It's more than likely that a smaller business (up to 5 employees) won't have a huge amount of negative feedback to take care of, so someone that understands the space, its nuances (because they've been using it naturally for the last 2-3 years) and more offers a viable solution.

Or maybe we've just been really fortunate with our interns. :)