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Social media success demands talent above technology

In response to Inside a Social Media News Release, Jonathan Rick asked me, “Isn’t this essentially the same thing that Pitch Engine offers?” Jason Kintzler then added, “Yes Jonathan, exactly! Did I mention you can do it all for free?!” Well, my response is the topic of this post today, “The article is only about the what and why of the Social Media News Release and not the how. Pitch Engine is a how!” I then added, “Pitch Engine doesn’t take away the work: writing/collecting compelling copy and assets. You do that work” and then “Our SMNR is just a platform and structure. 90% of one’s time should be spent writing amazing content” and then, finally, “Installing WordPress, an amazing platform, does not an amazing blog make; Pitch Engine  is amazing but content is king”

So, let me explain. Pitch Engine and WordPress are best-of-breed application platforms that make creating a Social Media Release and Blog seamless, removing the technology hurdle from the process. Those are good things, to be sure. However, after re-reading my SMNR post, it wasn’t about technology at all, it was about the collecting and presenting of relevant assets, copy, images, and videos; it was about organizing and branding an ease-of-use “steal all this content, blogger, and please post on your blog” microsite.

In fact, I made a point of showing how one doesn’t even need to spend all your time installing WordPress or some other database-backed website or web app — one can hack together a very valuable SMNR with just the most basic HTML, an inexpensive hosting plan, and a $12/year domain from a domain name registrar.

It’s not about the technology, people! Hire and train people based on their ability to write and their ability to connect and engage people — who like people and care about personal, human, relationships.  Signing up for Pitch Engine won’t write your SMNR for you, creating a profile on Twitter doesn’t make you an influencer, and installing WordPress doesn’t put you in the AdAge Power 150 or Technorati’s Top 100. These are all essential steps, but they’re no panacea.

If you’re spending more money on tech than talent, don’t. If you’re intimidated by technology, don’t be. If you think that Social Networking and Social Media is about apps and sites and smart phones and Twitter and Facebook and Google+, then you need to get past that and remember that it’s about people. Real flesh-and-blood folks who hunger to connect and relate. Yes, with each other, but also with you, your brand, products, and services.

Pitch Engine’s job is to make Social Media Release-making as easy as possible, tech-free, as possible. And they do an amazing job of it. The same goes for WordPress, Facebook and Twitter. If an app doesn’t make it easier for you to connect with other people, the app doesn’t work. At the end of the day, all these web applications are top-drawer, but they just make it easier — effortless — to do your job. They do not do your job for you and they often make folks lazier, more careless, and less concise. They tend to be enablers, enabling bad grammar, poor spelling, and just-good-enough editing.  People should always write as though what they’re writing is going to press and being printed on paper instead of just assuming you can always edit it later.

If you’re intimidated by technology, that’s OK. Social Media News Releases and Blogger Pitch Emails are more about the quality, simplicity, efficiency, and targeting of the writing, structure, and presentation of the page.  Some of the most popular blogs online are Blogger and MySpace blogs, even though there are more sophisticated platforms. Why? Because what it is to be a blogger is to be a writer and not a technologist or programer.  The same thing with digital PR and social media marketing. The most effective marketing campaigns combine the ability to write clear, compelling copy; understanding the target audience and their associated wants, needs, desires, and hunger; and knowing where the sweet spot in the market is — it is not about the technology. The tech is a necessary evil that must be transcended in order to ensure that the messaging is able to seamlessly reach the market without barrier.

Reporters don’t need to know how to run a printing press, news anchors don’t need to understand how a picture makes its way, as if by magic, to my LCD HDTV, and radio hosts surely don’t need to go out to get their Ham Radio License. And you don’t need to become an iOS developer, a web application developer, or a CSS guru, either.

Too many people in this space get stuck behind the technology barrier. They spend all their budgets on building the perfect web application, the best Facebook App, and on graphic design and architecture, leaving very little if anything on the best writers and the best marketers. Don’t get stuck in that trap.

Your social media presence, digital PR strategy, and social media marketing campaigns are only as good as your writers, marketers, PR professionals, community managers, designers, and creatives — the artisans — and not on the technologies — the tools. When I teach young college marketing and PR students in their communication schools, I remind them every day that all the things they’re learning in class, though possibly dated and old school, are still relevant because human nature is human nature and people are people and technological platforms are ephemeral and fleeting.

Learn the tools, surely, but don’t become obsessed with them. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

Learn more about Chris Abraham at Gerris digital.

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Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, Wikipedia curationsocial media strategy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreachinfluencer engagement, and Internet crisis response, with the digital PR and social media marketing agency Gerris digital. [Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me] A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries' leading firms. Chris Abraham specializes in web technologies, including content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.  Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 79 the last time he looked. Chris Abraham started doing web development back in 1994, SEO in 1998, blogging in 1999, influencer engagement in 2003, social media strategy in 2005, blogger outreach in 2006, and Wikipedia curation in 2007. Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call. If you want to know the services that Chris offers check out Services If you want to work with Chris use the Contact Form You're welcome to follow me via Social Media You can learn more about Chris over in About Chris writes a lot so check out the Blog Chris offers webinars so check Events

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Discussion

  1. Avatar Sally Falkow

    Well said Chris!

    PRESSfeed has also been available and able to post a social media release to your online newsroom for five years now. Yet I spend hours and hours training PR pros and students how to write and publish an effective SMNR.

    If the platforms did it all for us, we’d be home free. PR Newswire has a multi media release platform. Yet there were 8000 PR people on a recent Hubspot.PR Newswire webinar about how to craft a good online press release?

    Marketwire has had the SMNR plaform for several years now. Some companies use it well and some are appalling bad.

    I totally understand the techno-phobia. Most PR poele do not want to learn to code. Back in 2000 I considered learning HTML. I knew it would be an advantage. I didn’t do it. And I still don’t want to. I want the tools that do it for me. So I built PRESSfeed instead.

    But no matter how great the tools are they will never write a good release for me.

    It’s a delicate balance. Successful content depends 100% on talent. Successful online publishing depends on technology. Getting that content distributed and syndicated and earning the media mentions once again depends on talent, understanding online communication, what people need, how they operate online and how to present the material.

    If tools like PRESSfeed and PitchEngine were a panacea, there would be no PR pros looking for help with how to craft an SMNR or do blogger outreach.

    You need both, so make provision for them both in your budget. Tools alone will not get the result.

    1. Chris Abraham Chris Abraham

      Thanks, Sally!

  2. Avatar Trish

    Hey Chris… I am definitely finding it a challenge because people want to be entertained on social media… it’s difficult to find a balance between that and trying to do business!

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  5. […] surely, but don’t become obsessed with them. Shine the spotlight where it matters: people. Via Biznology.Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz and co-founder and principal of Abraham Harrison LLC, […]

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