For the past few weeks, my employer CNW Group has been hosting a series of informal "Coffee Break" webinars aimed at educating people about our various products. (CNW is WAY more than just a newswire.)
Starting next week, CNW Group will be hosting a series of coffee-break webinars every Wednesday at 3pm EST.
The topic of the first one will be Social Media Releases, and I'll be stepping up to the mic (handset? speakerphone?) to tell you everything I know.
There will be plenty of time for questions, but are there any you think I should specifically address?
I promise that I'll try and make it both informative and entertaining, so grab a coffee and log in from your desk. It'll be like hanging out with me for a few minutes, but you can count it as doing work.
CNW Group has always been committed to getting our clients' news in front of journalists and the media. For years, the only way to really do this was via the news wire. When fax machines became an accepted way to send and receive news and information, CNW Group embraced that technology to reach members of the media. Similarly, when email became a popular form of communication, CNW offered interested parties the ability to subscribe to our clients' news via portfolio email. The same, too with our categorized RSS feeds.
The point is that as technology has changed, CNW Group has changed with it in order to make it as easy as possible for both members of the media and the general public to get news and information from our clients.
That's why I'm excited to announce that we've officially launched hundreds of unique Twitter accountsto distribute our clients' news over Twitter. The accounts are based on our existing news categories, and all releases posted on our website and over the wire will also go out on anywhere from one to four of these accounts (depending on how the release is categorized).
By breaking the news into these seperate categories, we're making it easy for interested parties, be they members of the media or the general public, to find and follow the type of news they are interested in. Similarly, by offering news via the traditional wire, by fax, by email, by RSS and now by Twitter we are making it as easy as possible for people to get news from us.
A few weeks ago while giving a presentation for work, I stated that the battle for control over the corporate website between communicators and IT teams was a "mythic struggle".
IT and web teams want control over the corporate website for security reasons, and because traditionally it was their realm—their area of expertise. In this age of online communication that we live in, the CorpComm team also wants control over the website: they want to be able to update their online information quickly, get information about visitors to the site and generally have at least as much control over it as the IT team.
The reason I was giving the presentation was to help introduce CNW Group's latest product (and the reason I've been so busy lately): the MediaRoom. Hopefully, it will be a peaceful resolution to any disagreements between IT and communications.
What is the MediaRoom?
The MediaRoom is a Web Content Management System designed for corporate communicators. It integrates easily with your existing website, and is easy to use so that the media section can be updated quickly and painlessly. If you can send an email, you can update your website with this. Anyone familiar with blogging tools like Wordpress or Blogger will be able to understand the MediaRoom CMS pretty easily.
As my boss, Nicole Guillot (CNW Group's Vice President, Product Management and Operations), said:
“In today’s 24-hour media environment our clients need to communicate their messages—or respond to a crisis—with complete immediacy. CNW newswire clients can set up their CNW MediaRoom to automatically post news releases as they cross the wire. They can make any other changes or uploads anytime and anywhere there is an internet connection.”
Examples of the MediaRoom technology in work can be found on the newsrooms for Kellogg's, Match.com and Delta Airlines. I think the only downside of these examples is that they don't show how truly flexible the MediaRoom is, and how much you can do with it.
If you've got any questions about it, I'd be happy to answer them for you (mostly my roommates are just sick of hearing about "content management systems" and I'm still pretty excited about the MediaRoom).
Every year, CNW Group and a number of "top corporations from Bay Street's financial, legal, technology and accounting sectors" competed in a Scrabble competition for a chance to win the TMX Cup. The competition is in support of Frontier College, an organization with the goal of helping people improve their literacy skills.
There is an immediate opening for a Multimedia Coordinator at CNW Group (my employer)!
From the official description:
As the Multimedia Coordinator you will be responsible for all elements related to the distribution of our video and photo services. You will be part of the overall Multimedia Production Team which is responsible for all our rich media products at CNW.
Your primary role will be to assist our Broadcast Producers and successfully manage all our Video Production feeds and our Photo Distributions.
You are able to work with clients, field calls directly, offer advice and support for the production. You will need to maintain good working relations with many of CNW’s various suppliers. Please note there will be after-hours work involved both at the office and remotely.
* Organize all broadcast production feeds including:
* Fulfill client orders
* Prepare advisories and instructions
* Book suppliers
*Arrange for tape shipments
* Manage all our web on-demand distributions
* Coordinate all tape distributions
* Prepare weekly and monthly tracking reports
* Book video crews
* Book photographers
* Produce Social Media Releases
* Process and distribute photos
* Assist on team projects as needed
Qualifications and Experience:
* Strong planning and organizational skills – able to identify all components of a project and appropriate resources which need to be applied. Able to follow the project through to completion ensuring all elements are completed properly and on time
* Understanding of the technologies used, key drivers, and trends in content delivery
* A good appreciation of video production
* Proven and demonstrable experience of web production
* Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, pertaining to both technical and non-technical information is essential
* Strong work ethics - take pride in your work and strive to exceed expectations
* Deadline oriented - ability to work under pressure to meet tight deadlines with a demonstrated willingness to work extra hours as required
* Strong sense of urgency – need to move quickly
* Assertive – professional with the ability to ensure co-operation of other departments and team members and capable of pushing others where required to achieve results
* Ability to work independently in a fast paced environment
* Impeccable attention to detail
* Self motivated and enthusiastic
* Knowledge of Social Media/Web 2.0 concepts
* Bilingual (English-French) an asset
If you are interested in the position, please email HR@newswire.ca.
Yeah, after a few months of wicked hard work from a whole bunch of different people, the CNW Group Social Media Release has arrived!
If you're not sure what a Social Media Release is, check out this video that CNW commissioned the amazing Mark McKay to do:
If you didn't get it from the video, one of the solid points about the CNW SMR is that everything is embeddable. That's how I got the above video into this blog post.
But what's up with the little round face?
He is CNW SMR - the lines coming out of his mouth represent a message, while the ear represents the comments. Essentially, he's a conversationalist, just like the CNW SMR.
It is also one of the first SMRs to truly offer comments on the body of the release. I'm not sure that everyone will go for this sort of thing, but I think that it is a fantastic idea. If one person has a comment (negative or positive) about your organizations announcement, chances are others will as well. With comments, that one person (or more than one person) can voice their opinion directly on the release, and you as a PR pro can also respond directly on the release. The advantage of being able to have an official reply in an offical place is obvious. (Oh yeah, these comments are RSS enabled as well, meaning that if you want to keep up to the conversation via RSS, you can)
In order to give you social media enthusiasts a better idea of how sweet the CNW SMR is, Todd Defren graciously allowed me to adapt a chart he created a few months ago that aimed to "untangle the various SMR offerings" from major wire services.
What else is cool about the CNW SMR? Well, you should check it out here and see for yourself (or check here for more CNW SMRs). You can also follow @CNWGroupSMR on Twitter to be updated when we issue new Social Media Releases on behalf of our clients.
The whole CNW team was awesome to work with on this project. Product Manger Duane Bayley has done a fantastic job (and if you have any questions, hit him up on Twitter) of working with the design team on getting all the elements right. CNW's in-house graphic designer Kelly also did an amazing job of creating all those little face icons that you see on the release (I've also got a lot of respect for Kelly for being so patient with me and all my last minute suggestions).
I'd also like to give props to MarkMcKay for making the kick-ass video above - he was truly a pleasure to work with. And thanks again to Todd Defren (and the SHIFT Communications crew) for letting us adapt their chart and BrianSolis for being a decent enough guy to provide us with both a quote and a photo for our SMR.
So what do you think? Is the CNW SMR the kind of thing you think you would use? Why or why not? Any thoughts on the topic that you can muster up would be greatly appreciated!
Disclosure: if it wasn't already obvious, I work for CNW Group. However, this is a personal blog and the views expressed on it may not reflect those of CNW Group. Basically, I'm going to say what I want here, event if what I want to say has a lot to do with my work. Hey, it is my life and my blog. And Jens' blog. And to a lesser extent these days, Espen's blog. But you get the idea. Does anyone even read disclosure statements these days?
Some highlights from the past week and upcoming events...
- Last Monday, I went to Third Tuesday Toronto (disclosure: my company, CNW Group, is a sponsor) to hear Darren Barefoot speak. I won't waste too much time or space rewriting what others have written about his talk except to say that I liked his idea of teaching children to create and maintain a Wikipedia page. I also got a chance to catch up with a former coworker of mine, and I hope to see him again soon.
-Tomorrow night, Toronto's finest young PR-types will be meeting at The Abbot On The Hill, which is at 1276 Yonge Street. Join the Facebook Group, or just show up for what promises to be a very informal evening of getting drunk networking.
-And finally, on November 15 I'll be attending Talk Is Cheap, a social media unconference at Centennial College. My boss has sugggesed that I present something, and I'll definitely give the idea some thought. However, the registration list looks pretty full of some very knowledgeable people and I might be better off just going to learn and discuss. Either way, it looks like it'll be a good time.