New Beginnings: Season’s Greetings from PR Land

CLEVELAND –

Um, for some reason it feels like ages since I’ve blogged.

I got lost somewhere between the U and C of cornucopia this year, and haven’t yet fully recovered. But before the thrust of new beginnings shifts into snowball gear with Christmas and the holiday season, I figured I should get back to writing.

Essentially since hitting the ripe-old age of 26 in September, it’s been a whirlwind of cataclysmic proportions, both personally and professionally. And for that, I know those of us going through them are especially grateful. 

Few upcoming items on the docket:

  • The next Cleveland HubSpot User Group (HUG) meetup celebrating Kuno Creative and the launch of Paul Roetzer’s book will be taking place at PR 20/20’s headquarters Monday, December 19th. Tickets are limited, so RSVP if you have not done so already. For further details, refer to the link above.
  • Paul Roetzer’s highly anticipated new book, The Marketing Agency BluePrint, and subsequent Marketing Agency Academy: BluePrint Series is also underway this month. For more information regarding pre-order and book details, contact Paul directly or follow him on Twitter.
  • Joe Pulizzi’s new book, Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand is also available on amazon.com

This month’s HUG will cover the new Enterprise Training program/software, and progress made thus far with superstar case study Kuno Creative, who has been tearing it up in content and inbound lately.

According to Patrick Shea, the go-to-guy and lead liaison between HubSpot clientele and partner firms, Kuno Creative’s staggering results include a 500% spike in website traffic, more than 650 subscribers in 90 days and garnering 7,000 leads from social media campaigns.

Note that this event is not limited to HubSpot valued-added resellers (VARs); it’s open to all business folks in the NEO area interested in learning more about how rapidly the PR and marketing services industry is evolving, on a national and global scale. 

In other news, I’m honored and humbled to announce I accepted my first career offer, with another upstart HubSpot partner, Structure Marketing in November. I have been working with the president and chief operations officer since October, and am excited about the building process and potential ahead.

I also published a guest post in recent weeks with Gini Dietrich and Lisa Gerber over at SpinSucks, which garnered PR Readers Choice blog of the year in 2010.

Tectonic shifts occurring in the industry, and as always it’s awe-inspiring (and a bit daunting – especially for new kids on the block).

Just keep swimming… 

Just keep swimming Dory Finding Nemo Walt Disney

“Around here, however, we don’t look backward for very long. We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious. And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”

Any-who, back to the new job. As the work progresses from PR, and blends traditional with new roles and responsibilities across content and clients;

I will be specializing in all editorial, PR and social media functions as chief content officer (CCO). Which is basically the new name inbound and content marketing has bestowed upon lowly, persnickety editor-in-chiefs…)

Re-branding, rebuilding and the growing trend of virtual/work from home certainly has its challenges, and is not for everyone. But I’m excited to be part of continuing to drive change and growth within the marketing and digital services industry.

Other than that, I’m happy to spend some time enjoying the music, sounds and sights of the holiday season (thanks, Spotify and turntable.fm…) and reconnecting with old friends/family.  

I don’t know about you, but the goodwill, regeneration and peace reverberating around the world makes this one of my favorite times of year. 

Final tangent: thanks to my room mate for introducing me to this guy. I miss, and need to reunite with, this part of my past

Wishing you and your family, friends and colleagues all the love, peace and joy you can handle this year.

To new beginnings…

RELATED LINKS

SpinSucks/Arment Dietrich Inc guest post – Wile E. Coyote in Social SpaceTime 

Matt Ridings and Amber Naslund Launching Social Business Venture

Paul Roetzer – The Marketing Agency BluePrint

DogPound Debonairing with Cleveland.com and the Browns

CLEVELAND – Last night it really hit me: this city’s going places. 

Never mind that guys like Joe Pulizzi, the Godfather of the phrase “content marketing” and Paul Roetzer, founder of the original hybrid/inbound marketing agency — continue to redefine and champion the spirit of the community.

Joe Pulizzi content marketing world cleveland

Courtesy of Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute

Putting Believeland on the map as hometown underdogs, testament to a community that deeply values its roots and shows heart, hunger and humility.

Damn. That was a lot of alliteration.

As opposed to a sniveling, inflated superego who says Akron is his real home. Coming from someone who wasn’t born and bred here (CalifNYorker), even outliers like me know how tactless that is.

For shame, doc.

But back to Cleveland and 2011. Tonight’s tweetup at Cadillac Ranch with Cleveland.com and the Browns marked the beginning of fall, birthdays, and culmination of summer weddings, blogging/media conferences (our very own Content Marketing World) and Boston Inbound Marketing Summit, vacations — and refreshingly little buzz over the F-word.

Over today’s #F8 conference hailing the “new age” of social networking via timelines, open graph and a new class of applications. The constant squawking for power in the social realm’s starting to riff even the savviest of users.

PR 20/20 Todd Sheppard social media Cleveland tweetup chomps mascot

Courtesy of Alana Munro, Cleveland.com

Promising myself I’d resist the urge to be that guy, myself and another member from last month’s Cleveland.com Twitter20 devised a social experiment prior to the event: where the words Facebook and timeline were officially taboo.

It was actually easier than I thought it’d be. Maybe because the novelty of newest, biggest, fastest and better’s older than the Ed Sullivan Show.

But still not as annoying as all the whining and complacency surrounding what people should be used to by now: life goes on.

Tech will always be moving forward. So in the time that it takes to jump on the haterade bandwagon, maybe do us a favor, can it and do something. Take control of your social experience.

Facebook social network users social media

Mildy apparently the new “Mildly”

Who knows, Google+ could announce it bought everyone out tomorrow and that’ll be the end of it. 

At the heart of it, though, dogpound debonairs are not unusual: We just genuinely like people. Get a rush out of making new connections, meeting and commiserating over some pretty badass people, like Gini Dietrich and Chris Brogan.

Still stand on the shoulders of giants.

Because at the end of the day, all the tools, apps and open-graph sharing cannot replace the power of genuine, human experience. In-person. In real-time. Always looking upward and outward.

About working on your business, not in it as Gini says.

Other than scoring a free pair of tickets to the Browns/Titans October 2nd (props to all the winners, you get a star next to your name below) —

That’s something to really get pumped about.

Browns Tweetup Cleveland social media Cleveland.com Byron Fernandez

Courtesy of Cleveland.com

Chomps Cleveland Browns mascot tweetup Cadillac Ranch

Chomps riding the Bull

Dawgs in Attendance:

Alana Munro @dawgpndgirl

*Me @byron_fernandez

Jennifer Spiker @SportStoleMyMan

Jessica Donlon @jessicadonlon

Julie Provins @julieprovins

*Kasey Crabtree @kaseycrabtree

*Laurel Miltner @laurelmackenzie

Lukas Treu @ltreu

*Paul Roetzer @paulroetzer

Stephen Garvin @CleveNole

Todd Sheppard @taawd

Tracy DiMarino @tracydimarino

RELATED LINKS

Julien Smith >> Information is Not the Problem

Gini Dietrich >> Four Ways to Unplug and Focus

How to Lose Credibility in Less than 10 Seconds: Netiquette 101 

Contact Byron

What’s Happened to PR? No More Unicorns and Rainbows

This post will likely anger a few people, and for that I am prepared. After all, this is a community I am devoted to, regardless of whether or not I agree with the practices I’ve been seeing lately.

But rather than continue with a laundry list of grievances myself and presumably countless other prospective job candidates, partners and customers have experienced or observed in traditional PR and marketing, I’ll just keep it short and sweet:

What’s happened to PR?

To speak quite plainly, it sucks.

Whatever happened to the art of professional courtesy or follow-up? Of gracing a job candidate or prospective partner, client with the decency of a simple yes, or no?

But nothing? I don’t care if you’re Edelman or an obscure firm out in Alaska, a newfangled response (positive or negative) is still better than leaving people hanging.

That’s just impolite.

More importantly, from a branding perspective, why give people reason to question or speculate? As Dan Zarrella discussed in yesterday’s Guinness-World record setting webinar The Science of Social Media:

“Don’t let information voids spread around your brand” (especially in a time of crises, but I’d argue anytime) … “Find out what they want to know and give them that info.”

None of these sentiments should be new to practitioners, nor anyone with proper business acumen.

Allow me the presumption of speaking for purportedly naive, overly-zealous job seekers, students and workers my age:

We’d just appreciate the courtesy of a response, especially when we’ve taken the time to write a cover-letter, send resumes and consult with those in our network about matching our skills to your position.

Perhaps we weren’t the right fit (clearly, since you promised to get back and never did). Perhaps we wonder: if this is the way a company treats people who are not even inside its doors or on its payroll, how is it treating those that are?

Where is the accountability that everyone whines about nowadays? Perhaps Gen XY’s passion is impatient, entitled, overbearing, yada yada — but at least we still dare to show it.

It’s about heart, and we’ve got a lot of it.

Where’s yours? If you’re waiting for us to stop, to relent, you’ve only added insult to injury by underestimating our resolve. In business and in life, what you don’t say often resonates more than what you do. (Classic omission paradox).

We will continue to show initiative and the nerve to call out the injustice of impotent and cynical leadership, regardless of where it’s taking place (and especially when it’s among our own).

Until there is change, people will continue to suffer. That does not exclude those who work hard. It does not exclude those who have earned degrees, internships, have families, mortgages, student debt…list goes on.

I’m not saying there aren’t brilliant PR and marketing firms out there. In fact, many tech-savvy firms are integrating, acquiring and growing exponentially. These firms know how to wow and delight their people, from the inside out.

These firms are the ones willing to lead by example, and advise others who are still attempting to do new things with outdated and irrelevant strategies, techniques and approaches.

Here’s hoping PR folks will learn now — before it’s too late.

What really grinds your gears about the state of PR and business (or political) leadership today? Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

RELATED LINKS

Gini Dietrich, Spin Sucks >> PR Pros: Stop Treating Bloggers Like Second-Class Media

Paul Roetzer, PR 20/20 >> Death of the Traditional Marketing Agency

Amber Naslund, Brass Tack Thinking >> 5 Reminders for Social Media Job Candidates