A PR survey can serve many purposes, such as explore key audience messages, support the promotion of a brand, or create new content for an eBook or infographic. A PR survey may also be a flash poll, designed to pick up on a very current story in the news, or a survey to set an agenda with new insights.
Regardless of the purpose, an effective PR survey gets to the point quickly and asks clear questions.
Neil Cary, market research consultant and founder of Surveygoo and Asia Opinions, shared the following nine tips to help create an effective poll: bit.ly/1Dxg1QN
Many companies have realized the importance of using social media in their marketing efforts. However, is it beneficial for the company's executives to also be using social? If so, what type of content should executives post? Should they engage with customers on social? The head of digital and content marketing at Eastwick Sahana Jayaraman answered these questions and more in yesterday's #ConnectChat. If you missed the Twitter chat, here is a recap:
Can you please tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a digital content strategist with more than 12 years of experience. I work with C-suite executives to increase visibility.
What do you say to executives who don’t want to use social media?
I say that is okay, it’s not for every executive, but it is still critical to understand the benefits of being on social. Every CEO should understand the power of social to drive visibility for their organization and his/her personal brand. In today's “always on” environment executives must be nimble and forward thinking to break through and thrive. It is proven that social media has its unique benefits to developing a personal brand. Social CEO creates stronger relationships with influencers and increases visibility for org initiatives and thought leadership.
What type of social media sites should executives be actively using?
I recommend conducting some industry and audience research to find out where the conversations are happening. However, it’s safe to think about Twitter, LinkedIn and SlideShare. Long-form content is also great for deep engagement.
How much time should a CEO be investing on social?
Executives are busy people and it isn’t expected that they are checking feeds every minute. However, you do need to keep up. I recommend that executives typically post at least 1-3 times a week unless they are native to social. Long-form content is recommended at least twice a month to help add more context to his/her thought leadership platform.
Can you please explain what you mean by long-form content?
Long-form content can include a blog post, byline or LinkedIn long-form post.
What kind of objectives should executives have for being active on social, i.e., building their company’s reputation?
Here are the objectives: 1) create a distinct and memorable personal brand that ties into the brand, industry and your personal values overall; 2) build good relationships with the media and other influencers; 3) offer a competitive edge to the brand, increase SOV, message resonance, etc.
What type of content should executives tweet/post?
Create and leverage content strategy. You need a plan and an agenda. Social can be a powerful tool in creating a halo effect to amplify offline and press engagements. Content can include news articles, blog posts, presentations, videos and graphics that help tell your story. Also, recommend implementing the 80/20 rule. It’s an old rule, but still a good one. 80 percent curated, 20 percent original.
What are good types of visual content for the social CEO?
Graphics are great for storytelling. Infographics for data-driven stories. Visuals for longer more complicated stories. Images to catch attention. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text, and therefore it’s important to think of content as more than text.
How can executives increase social engagement?
Create an engagement strategy. Have a purpose for engaging on social and make it clear. Have discipline. Don't jump on the social bandwagon and fall off. Stay engaged and participate with frequency. Engage and get feedback. Get to know your followers. Find out what they care about and how you can help them, and do so. Stay interesting and provide meaningful content that is relevant and timely. Offer helpful advice, intriguing information, facts and figures, personal anecdotes, and much more. Keep them coming back for more. Be real and find your true voice in the conversation. It will feel uncomfortable at first, but eventually you'll find it.
Is it important for executives to engage with customers on social? If so, how can they do this effectively?
It really depends on the size and goals of the company and program. Executives must take measures to distinguish their presence on social as a thought leader, not as customer service. With that said, social has a powerful impact in gaining trust among consumers. 77 percent of people are more likely to buy from a company whose values are defined through leaderships’ involvement on social.
What’s the best way for executives to deal with a satisfied customer on social? What about a dissatisfied customer?
I recommend that CEOs establish a response protocol with regard to customer engagement. You want to set precedent and be consistent. Acknowledging happy customers is important. This can be done with a simple thank you, or liking of a post. Engaging with dissatisfied customers is not sustainable or the expected job of a CEO, such requests must be escalated internally. I recommend politely pointing those customers to someone within the organization that can help them find a solution. Before launching an executive on social you must understand any and all risks and have an issues management plan.
What are some things executives should avoid doing on social when engaging with customers?
Setting up guardrails in terms of conduct can be helpful. It depends on the personality of the executive, but here are some general rules: 1) Avoid projecting too much emotion. Passion is OK, emotion is not. Know the difference. 2) Don't feel the need to respond to every tweet or DM, especially negative ones. Do your homework first before you respond. 3) Avoid typos, acronyms and emoticons. It doesn't look professional and will impact credibility. 4) Don't say anything you wouldn't want to see in a headline or out in public.
How can a business calculate if their competitors are receiving more mentions on social, and how can executives help this problem?
There are social media monitoring tools that can help you track that. The one we use is Sysomos, Brandwatch and Marketing Cloud. The first step is to identify your competitors. Other influencers who have a share of voice in the conversations you want to be in. Then you start to generate some benchmarks. Identify what they are doing and develop a strategy for your own personal brand. Continue to track and monitor and let the insights help inform your strategy.
What do you need to have in place to have a successful social CEO program?
You need four things to have a successful social program: 1) You need to define your audience. 2) You need an agenda. What is your platform? In your current role and in the industry. 3) Know where to reach your audience and go there. Social is one part. PR, events, and other channels must be considered. 4) Build a team. An executive program is not a one person job. You need research, strategy, writers and community managers, etc.
Do you have any stories of executives who successfully use social, as well as how it has benefited their business?
I launched the CEO of Kaiser Permanente. He is one of the most charismatic and visionary leaders I've worked with. I helped him engage on social to convene a dialogue on affordable healthcare amidst a debate on health care reform in America.
These days it is important for everyone to have some type of social media presence, especially leaders of a company. Social media gives executives the opportunity to establish an identity for their brand as well as increase their company's reputation.
For our next Twitter Q&A, head of digital and content marketing at Eastwick Sahana Jayaraman will explain how to build and increase executive visibility on social. She will discuss the ways executives can build loyalty and get company feedback by communicating and using social media.
To participate in the chat, join us on Twitter on Tuesday, Oct. 14, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. EDT and follow the #ConnectChat hashtag to follow the conversation between @hellosahana, @ProfNet and the rest of the chat participants.
If you cannot join us on the day of the chat, you can find a recap on ProfNet Connect the following day. We hope you will join us!
Jayaraman has 12 years of brand communications experience supporting a wide range of B2B and B2C clients in campaign planning and execution. Her client roster over the years has included large Fortune 500 corporations to small startups in the consumer, technology, finance, healthcare, and government sectors.
Whether it’s driving brand awareness, amplifying product launches, content marketing, influencer engagement, or crisis management, Jayaraman has extensive experience helping clients effectively leverage social and digital technologies to meet communications objectives.
In previous roles, Jayaraman has worked closely with Fortune 500 companies to realign cross-functional communications teams and set up a social business. She has also worked with high-profile executives to launch and maintain their personal brands on social. Other areas of expertise include social media training, measurement & social analytics, and creative campaign planning and execution. Jayaraman has led several executive visibility programs for C-suite executives in large and small companies.
Finding a story to share with your social media audience is important for every company. Yet, the struggle may be to find the right story at the right time to share on your Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn page.
Scredibleprovides an easy and reliable solution for this problem.I got the chance to speak with Scredible's social and data marketing managerLori Friedrich, who explained how Scredible works as well as how it can help companies with their social media efforts. Read what Friedrich had to say:
Can you please explain how Scredible works?
The Scredible application uses machine learning (AI) to take the heavy lifting out of online information gathering, reading, sharing, analysis, and reporting. And an on-going assessment function allows Scredible to provide granular coaching in real-time so subscribers can attain social competency. The result is a real-time Professional Branding Ecosystem™.
How did you come up with the idea for Scredible?
The concept was seeded by the frustration of learning, and then integrating, multiple applications to achieve a single goal -- 21st century communication. As far back as the mid-90s, Scredible founders were pioneers of online communities for professionals. We have long valued the collaborative potential of such communities, but it became clear that the difficulty experienced by most users in getting a message across, and then being heard amidst the background noise limits the potential -- NB: this is particularly true for time-pressed professionals. The Scredible solution was conceived to harness the intelligent, adaptive, and relationship capabilities of AI, with the goal of making social effortless and effective.
How is Scredible different from other social media applications?
First wave social media apps made the process more efficient. Enterprise platforms added analytics functionality and reporting, but for the most part, such apps failed to solve the threshold problem of today’s economy: The need to be socially competent in real-time, and then to stay that way, painlessly. For professionals, this means knowing how to find the right information when it’s needed, when and where to use it optimally, and how best to share it in order to build and maintain a trusted brand, with a real-time assessment function that brings the user up-to-speed on any particular social need. That’s what Scredible does in a single-point solution -- that is the Scredible edge.
Can any type of company benefit from Scredible?
Scredible is designed to work for "Brand Me". As such, it has value for individuals and professionals in companies of any size. The pricing structure, from free to enterprise, ensures maximum distribution and use.
Can a social media or marketing team integrate Scredible into their social media efforts?
Scredible’s Web and mobile applications are cloud-based, allowing the system to work for individual, agency, and enterprise users. Marketing departments may use the "Team" function to manage campaigns, or use the app standalone. Future releases will solidify and simplify integration with complementary enterprise systems.
Can Scredible help a company achieve a variety of different goals, i.e., increasing their social media presence on Twitter?
Scredible completes the loop from interest to objective. This ensures that companies and individuals desiring to, for example: 1) increase their presence on Twitter; 2) publish more authoritatively on LinkedIn; and 3) measure and quantify ROI based on social outreach, can achieve any or all of these goals using Scredible.
How does the application gather content and from where?
Scredible servers are fed by a system that identifies news, trends, and other online content; analyzes relevance to a subscriber’s profile and goals; then predicts the engagement outcome. The resulting analysis is applied to create iterative search strings used to draw results from Scredible data sets and the wider Internet.
Once research is complete and the post/tweet has been formulated, where does it get posted? What social media site options are provided?
Posting venues are at the discretion of the user. Currently, Scredible output may be posted to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, also Google+ and other social and media networks, using the integrated copy-post feature. Once posted, at the users’ discretion, posts will appear on personal streams and full feedback analytics are available within the Scredible application.
Does the company receive any type of reporting or tracking once the post/tweet has gone out?
See above. There is a monitoring and metrics dashboard that drills down to individual post or tweet level, allowing users a real-time view of their posting activity and engagement.
Currently, you can sign up for the beta version of Scredible, when do you plan on releasing it?
Everyone has a story, but knowing how to find your story and tell it is essential for both individuals and brands. At the last Social Media Club NYC meeting, we discussed what makes a good story, how to find your story, why visuals are important to storytelling, and much more. The three panelists included:
Rachel Zarrell, reporter and weekend editor of Buzzfeed.
Here is a recap of the discussion:
What are the elements of a good story?
Pulos: For me, there are five basic elements: brief, true, about a person, engage an emotion, and end on a high point. Also, the best stories are told in present tense and they’re a little bit acted out.
Zarrell: To make something a good story, it needs to make people feel strong emotions.
Stepanek: A key element is to get to the “so what?”
How can storytelling drive a business forward?
Pulos: The face-to-face component is very important. Even the youngest people sitting in cubicles around the U.S. have powerful stories. They need to be taught how to tell them and make the bridge into how it fits into the business world.
Stepanek: A good video or infographic that shows impact can be a really good way to measure or prove that the company is able to do what it says its doing.
How can you use nut grafs?
Pulos: Nut grafs can help to get your thinking concise. I was on a panel about social media and learned that a company’s about page should have a two-line description, 50-word description, and a longer piece. This way if a journalist needs to grab something or tweet about you, they have something short they can use, something longer they can use if you are a speaker at an event, and a full-length description for your clients.
Here are two exercises you can try:
Execise One: To explain your story about what you do and who you are, you can ask a friend, colleague, someone you report to/reports to you to send you phrases about what they value for you, like you for, etc.
Exercise Two: List your triumphs, great stuff, bad stuff; your age at the time; and moral of the story. Many people leave out the moral of the story when doing this exercise, but this is how I have cultivated many different stories with different clients.
Zarrell: That is definitely important to a journalist. The way we narrate things around the visuals when telling a story is getting to the thing people care about very quickly, because people don’t want to waste their time.
Stepanek: Another thing you can do on your company’s about page is rather than writing a long description, you can make a short video about why you are there and makes it special.
How do you know if your story is good enough to support your cause?
Pulos: You just have to get out there and tell the story. When people tell a story, there are people that will come up to them and tell them they will never forget the story they heard.
Stepanek: It’s about compelling content and brevity.
Zarrell: You can’t force people to care about something, so if they do, you will see it. I wrote a diatribe against a famous pop star who I didn’t think was being a good representative of being a famous person, and over a million people shared that story. It really resonated with people. I went into work and wanted people to feel what I did that day. I was passionate about it.
Why are visuals such an important part of storytelling?
Stepanek: Our brains are neurologically wired to process visual images faster and more efficiently. Also it’s the fastest way to get an emotional impact along with information. Another reason is that visuals tend to have more credibility, because it isn’t someone saying something existing but showing it exists. In addition, people want to see other people, it isn’t just about hearing what someone said, but it’s seeing their movement, conversation, etc.
Kevin Lui: PR Newswire did a study two years ago that press releases sent through PR Newswire with photos generate 1.8 times more pageviews than text only; press releases with video generate 4.3 times more pageviews; and press releases with text, video and photos generate more 7.4 times more pageviews.
Zarrell: There have been a lot of hoaxes this year with images. People spread them without thinking about it. BuzzFeed is very careful about debunking everything we get. If it seems like it is too good to be true, it probably is. I have few ways to debunk these situations. Google’s reverse image search is a big one.
Howard Greenstein: If you have a decent quality image, then you can zoom in and see the fake pixels. You can also look at shadows.
When you are writing stories, what kind of content and visuals do you look for?
Zarrell: I won’t write anything that doesn’t have a visual element to it. When I am creating a story, I build it around the visual. If there is a video from a newscast, then I will screen shot pictures from it and build a whole narrative around those pictures. There aren’t always visuals, so BuzzFeed uses a program called Capture that’s lets you go to a location where something is happening.
Do you have any suggestions for a company looking for tools to create stories?
Stepanek: There is a company called WeVideo. It creates places where you can insert a photograph or types of content. There are a lot of companies that are trying to get you from conceptualizing a story to actually having one for the Web. Another tool that shouldn’t be underestimated and is the newest form of storytelling is the infographic.
What kinds of narratives have you found effective either on the social or market side?
Pulos: Metaphors are a great way to tell a story. Look at Steve Jobs and the stories he has told -- that an iPhone is a life in your pocket. In terms of branding, he told larger stories, such as his commencement speech at Stanford. During his speech, he told three stories.
Is it possible to over show when telling a visual story?
Zarrell: I think it is possible and depends on the topic. At BuzzFeed, we didn’t show any of the beheading pictures or leaked celebrity pictures. We try to respect people’s privacy to a degree, but when it’s a public figure in that way, I think it’s necessary to show it.
How does a visual become viral?
Zarrell: If it is just a picture, then just on Twitter you need to have a bigger outlet to give you a boost. I also think that it’s the things that make people get really angry, go more viral than anything else. It needs to make people feel very powerful and they won’t be able to resist sharing it.
Stepanek: There is some interesting research going on now in the social goods space. They're looking to create measurements based on how a video or story emotionally moves an audience.
How do you use textual content with images?
Zarrell: It is very easy for text to overwhelm an image. If the image is powerful, it will speak for itself. If you are trying to explain it, then you are overreaching and it may not be as interesting. I try to keep my stories as concise as possible unless it’s something long and reported. We also like to use hyperbolic words. Words that are really clicky are heartbreaking, heartwarming, awesome, amazing, etc. These things really work.
Where do you see visual storytelling going in the future?
Stepanek: YouTube and everybody else is predicting that two years from now 73 percent of everything that goes online will be video. I think citizen videos will still be very relevant as part of communicating with your news communities and people, but I think in the development of short-form video, video branding, and infographics, we’ll see professionals coming in and redefining it.
Martin Scorsese said in the next couple of years not knowing how to create a video and share that over mobile is going to seem as unusual as people now not knowing how to send an email.
Zarrell: The most powerful visuals that we share are from social media. Somebody created this program for BuzzFeed where we can tweet at someone and they will start live streaming from their phones, and we can broadcast it. Things like that are going to become bigger.
Last Thursday, ProfNet hosted a Google+ Hangout On Air discussing how to market your event. The two guests included Andy Crestodina and Rieva Lesonsky. Crestodina is the cofounder and strategic director of Orbit Media, as well as the author of Content Chemistry. Lesonsky is the CEO of GrowBiz Media, a nationally known speaker, and best-selling author. Here are some highlights from the Hangout:
As soon as I know the industry of my business, I would start attending events, if not holding my own events. Events are a powerful way to connect with people, and it is never too early to start. -Crestodina
Events are a great way to connect with influencers, bloggers, journalists, etc. It is a way to build relevance amongst the people that might cover, follow, and share you. –Crestodina
When putting together an invite for an event, find where all your potential customers are and then put it on your website, Eventbrite, and social media. –Lesonsky
When putting together your event, use words that your audience would use themselves. Anyone that uses industry jargon will have a harder time getting traction. –Crestodina
More research-based words used in your invite will get traction in SEO and words with more emotional content get higher traction in social media. –Crestodina
Use the word “you” in your event invite and not “they.” You want to establish an intimate relationship between the person getting the invitation and the company. –Lesonsky
Allow your audience to ask questions during your event. It is important to allow a lot of back and forth during your event. –Lesonsky
You want to optimize not just your event page, but also your site that contains important topics to your audience. This will create a steady stream of views and interest to your posts on your site, which will make it easier to sign up people for your events. -Crestodina
Limited seats and early bird registration create an excuse for you to talk about the urgency and scarcity of the deadline approaching. –Crestodina
You should also get out there and talk to your followers about the event. –Lesonsky
Don’t just go for volume -- trying to fit as many people as you can in a room. Go for the people who will be able to do something and appreciate what you are offering. –Lesonsky
Create a hashtag for the event, and make sure everyone is on board with the hashtag. Also join LinkedIn groups, but don’t go in and start advertising the event, but go in and start talking to people. The more personal you can be the better. –Lesonsky
Give support to anyone who is live tweeting during your event, and give anyone images who is live blogging. Support the people who are giving it a bigger reach. –Crestodina
At the live event, get people to sign up for an e-newsletter. Sign them up by telling them you learned so much and want to keep the connection going (use personal words). You don’t need to talk to them every week, but connect with 1-2 times a month. –Lesonsky
Final tip: Events are a great way to bring people together, especially those who have virtual businesses. Also give people the natural ability to network at the event. -Lesonsky
Whether you’re a major news publication or blogger, you need to know how to tell an engaging story. Wochit is a video creation platform that allows you to bring your story to life in 15 minutes using a combination of automation and human touch. We asked Drew Berkowitz, the SVP of Partnerships for Wochit, to discuss this type of storytelling, its benefits, and more. Check out what he had to say:
Can you please explain how Wochit works?
Using a combination of automation (that quickly sources licensed video and still image content from AP, Reuters, Getty and others, adds in maps, info-graphics, social media feeds and more) and human touch (the ability to upload your own assets, enable quick, creative editing, and the chance to provide human voice over); Wochit, lets any storyteller create a video in about 10-15 minutes.
What inspired the creation of Wochit?
The creation of Wochit was inspired by the increasing need for publishers, brands, blogger, journalists and creators of any kind to deliver visual stories quicker and create video more efficiently.
What type of organizations can use your video platform?
Anyone who wants to enhance, promote or create a story with video. That can be big publishers, independent or student journalists, bloggers, brands who are engaged in content marketing -- any creator.
Can any story be told using Wochit?
Yes. Breaking, topical and trending stories have a distinct advantage because of the speed in which we deliver licensed content, but our quick and simple editing platform and the ability to upload your own assets makes any story possible.
How can this type of visual storytelling benefit an organization?
There is no end to the amount of research showing how video increases time spent and engagement with a page/article, or in driving traffic and awareness, whether that’s on desktop or mobile. Partners are using our platform in various ways to take advantage of these statistics, by promoting on social networks with a quick video teaser, including a short form video within the article, building out new YouTube channels, enhancing their native advertising with video, and even creating their own shows. In the end for most it’s about increased awareness, and of course, increased revenue.
What type of different emotions does a video elicit vs. someone reading text?
I’m not sure if it’s different, but rather elevated. Visual storytelling greatly enhances a human’s connection, involvement and attitude with a story. As a perfect recent example, all we have to do is look at the latest incident involving Ray Rice and the emotions that were created when we read about the incident and the elevated emotions after we all saw the video footage.
What kind of graphics do you recommend an organization use to tell a story? What are some of the more powerful graphics?
Wochit’s system provides most everything a creator needs for a compelling video story; video actuality, foreground sound, natural sound, the ability to select your thumbnail, add a creative title, zoom in on quotes, and add human voice. These are all elements that make Wochit’s video more compelling.
What are the benefits to adding a human voiceover to a video?
Humans add inflection, emotion, and personality that connect us to a story.
Once the video is complete, how does an organization disseminate it to their audience?
We work with partners to fit into their CMS systems, video players, etc., and offer any type of ability for a creator to distribute the video. Wochit also has distribution partnerships with AOL, Yahoo, NDN and others to help creators get their video in front of an audience.
How can an organization share the video across their social media networks?
They have an embed code and through whatever player they use can run across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others.
Are you able to track the number of shares and views to your video?
Yes, we work with our partners and through their players to monitor shares and views, and for individual creators we can help with those statistics as well.
Do you see more news organizations moving toward visual storytelling in the future?
I hope so! But the answer is absolutely yes. Forrester Research released a statistic that 1.8 million words is equal to one minute of video. That’s incredibly powerful, but until now not scaleable. The time and expense of creating video prohibited journalists to truly take advantage of the new digital/mobile medium. Wochit has solved this problem and enables any storyteller to create a video in minutes.
Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us email@example.com.
It's that time again! We are having our next Google+ Hangout On Air next Thursday, Sept. 18 at 12:30 p.m. EDT. We will be discussing everything organizations need to know about marketing their next event. Two great guests, CEO of GrowBiz Media Rieva Lesonsky and Cofounder & Strategic Director of Orbit Media Andy Crestodina, will be joinging us to share everything from what type of event will help an organization's goals to SEO practices that draw people an event page.
Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photojournalism plays a large role in visually explaining a news story. Some of the most memorable news stories have been captured in a photograph. However, what does it take to capture that perfect photograph? What role does the law and public play when trying to take a photograph? Photojournalist Ricky Flores shares his expertise on these topics and more:
How did you get involved in photojournalism?
I received a small inheritance from my father who was a merchant marine, so on my 18th birthday I purchased my very first camera, a Pentax K1000. It was only natural for me to start taking photos of my friends, family and community, and it happened to be during the 80s during the end of the South Bronx fires. Somehow I survived the 60s and 70s without having my family burnt out of our building. As time went on, I began to question what was taking place in my community, the one that I knew as home. When I went to college, I began to explore what was happening from a perspective that was outside my fishbowl, and I became politically active. I began to document not just my friends and family but expanded that coverage to include what was taking place in my community, which included the fires, the development of the Hip Hop Movement and anything else that drew my interest, including Bronx and New York City politics.
What drew you to photojournalism?
The most powerful aspect of becoming a photojournalist was that it empowered me to have a voice on the issues that concerned me. These issues included poverty, racism, AIDS, police brutality, political corruption, and how it impacted the communities of people of color. The 80s were a turbulent time in NYC, which saw the rapid change between three different mayors as a result of those issues which heavily divided the city.
What role does timeliness play in the success of a photojournalist?
Time has always been a factor for photojournalists and is far more pressing than any other aspect of journalism. We actually have to witness history unfold before us. No other options are available if we miss and don't see something. In the past, it was based on how we could take an image before the advent of digital photography, turn that around and produce it so that a photo editor could purchase it. It meant running to a darkroom or a lab and generating negatives and prints, a process that could take several hours, because you had to factor in travel, processing film, editing and captioning. Today that entire process can take place in a matter of minutes with a camera and a cellphone, or just a cellphone.
Are there any situations where a photograph is off limits due to legal reasons?
Photos taken in any public street or publicly owned facility are pretty much fair game. The only discussion that comes into play, are images of death, and that’s based on ethics and morality. It’s about what should be shown to the general public out of compassion to the families whose lives were affected balanced with the right for the public to know. These discussions are always heavily weighted in the families favor. Also, and obviously, photos that violate any individual rights, such as a sexually exploitive photo without consent can bring criminal and civil repercussions. For any good new organization, the photo is unacceptable for use and are grounds for termination.
Have you ever been in a situation where you got in trouble for taking a particular photo?
That issue is a constant one that photographers struggle with. We do have to push boundaries that may be offensive to the people who we are photographing, and then editors have to deal with the fallout over those disagreements. In the vast majority of cases, most of these issues can be minimized with active dialog with the people you are photographing. You can also give your editors a heads up that they may be getting phone calls from someone who objects to what you have done. In all cases, I try to be respectful to the people that I am photographing. The only grouping of people that I tend to be heavy-handed with are politicians -- and only if they are formally being investigated for criminal reasons. We entrust those officials to represent the interests of people as a whole and not for personal gain.
Are there any ethical guidelines every photojournalist must follow?
Yes, absolutely. Never manipulate a news image through artificial means such as Photoshop. Never stage a news photo during an event. Never misrepresent yourself to the public. The public relies on us to provide detailed and accurate information so that they can make informed decisions about an event. That essential trust is what our very livelihood is dependent upon.
What kind of an impact can a photograph have on a breaking news story?
Some images can have profound impact on how a community, the nation or the world can react to seeing images from a breaking news event. Timing, magnitude and the ability for people to have a emotional connection to an event make all the difference on how much impact those photos and videos will have on the public. Think about Sept. 11, Sandy Hook, or a local tragedy.
What type of reactions do you get from large crowds when you take photos of them to tell a news story?
It all depends on the situation. In riot conditions you can be welcomed or attacked based on the crowd’s perception of who you are and whose interests you represent -- real or imagined. In those situations it is important to make your intent known and establish some rapport with the crowd and leaders. It is also always good to work with groups of photographers to watch each other’s backs in rapidly changing environments. In general, if there is a large group of people at an event, they tend to understand why you are there and let you do your thing.
How has social media affected a photojournalist’s job?
That need to push out news events via social media in a competitive market in real time is having a profound effect on how the media responds to events in your community. Photojournalists today have to be multi-disciplined and be able to produce stills and video in a timely matter. We have to actively build audiences through social media and engage our audience. It is an exciting time for photojournalists, because the Web is inherently a visual medium. It has expanded the tools we have available to tell a story as well as our role as the central element in the newsroom.
Do you incorporate social media into your professional work?
On a daily basis, I use Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter to push stories out or promote projects that I am working on.
How have you seen photojournalism evolve over the years?
I have witnessed the change from analog to digital, as well as an explosion of interest in photography by the general public with the accessibility to cellphone cameras. It has had a profound impact on how we cover and turn around imagery from news events. I think it has also created confusion on how easily and accurate those images are when professional journalists do not vet the source and event. Some newsrooms confuse accessibility to images from the public with quality coverage by a photojournalist. These are two vastly distinct types of photography, and strangely enough, the general public seems to be aware of the difference. When news organizations sort out how to stay fiscally viable, we should hopefully see an increase in the market for multimedia photojournalists. Also our reporting roles have expanded with the introduction of video and other tools, essentially turning the photojournalist into a one-man band in many situations.
What is the future of photojournalism?
Currently, guardedly, I see a future in photojournalism. What that will look like in 5, 10 or 20 years down the line, I don’t know. I do know that the future of the media is wholly depended on nurturing professional photojournalists to provide visually powerful elements to drive an audience to their sites. How that will evolve is very much in play right now. One thing that will not change is the need in our communities to have professional journalists to act as watchdogs of local government and law enforcement and to accurately and reliably cover breaking news events in their community and act as a conduit between the government and the community in cases of emergencies. No other organization is built to meet that particular need. Also a well-organized and financially stable institution can guard against constitutional abuses against freedom of speech and abuses of power.
Many people learn about the power of networking during their professional career. Networking can be the key to building a strong professional relationship with an individual. However, is it more important to network online versus offline these days? Where do you go to connect with professionals? These are all questions we discussed in our last #ConnectChat with Lisa Chau, a social media strategist and PR and marketing consultant. To learn about how you can develop and maintain a strong network, here's a recap of the chat:
What major changes have you seen in the way people network over the past few years?
We are becoming a relationship economy. Read Ted Rubin’s work about Return on Relationship™. Social media revolutionized the way we network. Technology makes connecting with people and companies much easier and quicker. This chat is a great example of how social media has changed the landscape of conversation.
Can you explain a little more about how social media has affected networking?
People use social media to create personal brands. Harvard Business Review and Forbes contributor Dorie Clark writes about this extensively. People can find your digital reputation before they ever meet you in person. Your blurred online and in-person reputations are more valuable than the company you currently work for. Social media can also be dangerous if you are not thoughtful in what you present publicly.
Is Facebook a good place to connect with individuals?
Facebook is more about connecting with people I already know. Twitter is more about connecting with people I want to know. For instance, Facebook gives me a lens into the personal lives of Ted Rubin, Bryan Kramer, Tim McDonald, Tami Cannizzarro, and Sarah McAloon.
How can you reach out and form networks with people on Twitter?
For professional reasons, I love Twitter -- I can Tweet anyone with an account! Facebook is much more closed for direct contact. Twitter is great for leveraging ambient presence -- maintaining a constant presence without being intrusive.
Another way to form networks on Twitter is through chats. Also, if you travel for business, consider focused tweets by geo-location Lazqa for vetting new connections.
What tips do you have for people forming professional relationships on LinkedIn?
Join LinkedIn groups and participate in discussions. Provide useful insight. Highlight your area(s) of expertise. Mentor! Always add value.
Ask what and how you can help. Give before you take. Ted Rubin and Tim McDonald are good examples of this. Listening is the first step to learning how you can add value.
What are some other things people should always remember to do when using social media to network?
When using social media to network, always add value, be polite and grateful. Respect other's views. Also, build your network *before* you need it. No one wants to be approached only when you want help. Mind your relationships always.
Listen, engage, help and love. It's about that simple.
What are the things people should avoid doing when using social media to network?
When using social media to network, don't just take -- don't be that person. Don't speak more than you listen. Avoid forcing your views onto others. Keep an open mind. You aren't always right. Learn before you teach.
We talked about networking online, but what about networking offline? Is it just as important?
Absolutely! Networking offline is just as important as networking online. Offline meetings might be more important. In person closes the deal, personally or professionally.
I cannot emphasize enough: Networking online is not a substitute for networking offline. If possible, always meet in person. Mike Bloomberg advises that Obama should be golfing every weekend and taking people to dinner every night. He says, "You always can work better with somebody that you have a chance to build a social relationship with.”
There are many different offline networking events out there. How do you decide which ones to attend?
Attend offline networking events that best align with your goals. Do the guest lists include people you want in your network? Make a point of being a regular at specific networking events so you really build a presence for yourself. Ally with hosts.
What type of preparation should you do prior to attending a networking event?
Be prepared to speak intelligently about the focus of the networking event. Practice talking points and elevator pitches. Without appearing like a stalker, research people on the guest lists that you want to meet. Find common interests and goals.
When preparing for networking, be ready to listen. Also be approachable and be prepared to meet different people.
How often do you recommend attending a networking event?
I try to attend 1-2 networking events per week in person. Depending on schedules, others might go to one per week or month. Avoid burning yourself out, but do pick certain ones to attend regularly, both online and offline. The more often you go to the same networking events, the more people will be able to remember you. Stay in their minds.
What kind of introduction should you give when you first connect with someone at the event?
Introduce yourself with a smile and confident handshake. Name, current projects and what value you add. "How can I help you?" In your introduction, you might also add an interesting fact to help the other person remember you, i.e., "I was an Olympic rower."
How can you make sure to stay in touch with an individual you meet at a networking event?
Stay in contact with people you meet at events by sending follow-up emails within two days of speaking. Many won't respond to your initial follow-up email. Especially if there is no immediate opportunity for collaboration.
You can also exchange information (can be Twitter handles) and send a quick note couple days following the event.
Link to them via LinkedIn on the spot and add a follow-up reminder. Social media can be a game changer to maintain engagement.
If you reach out to that individual but don’t hear back, what should be your next steps?
Use Twitter to continue chatting about common interests. However, mind subtle cues. If someone repeatedly does not respond, move on. Don't force a connection -- or rejection.
What are some ways to keep track of the people you build professional relationships with online and offline?
Use whatever method works for you to keep track of people you meet online and offline. I'm a business card collector. Others might be more comfortable with the mobile app options available these days. Or Evernote. Or Excel. It's preference.