Digital Marketing, Social Media Case Studies, PR 20, Twitter Top 20 Interviews

Todd Defren – The Twitter 20 Interview About Social Media and PR 2.0

social media guru todd defren Todd Defren   The Twitter 20 Interview About Social Media and PR 2.0 Todd Defren is one of America’s leading thinkers and influencers around the new era of public relations. Deftly blending social media, search marketing, and relationship building, Todd’s team at SHIFT Communications is breaking the mold for what a PR firm can and should do.

In addition to his work at SHIFT, Todd’s blog at PR Squared is a must-read for all social media and PR types. Todd is also the Dr. Frankenstein of the Social Media News Release (SMNR). Conceived in 2006, this content-rich approach to information dissemination is skyrocketing in popularity, pushed forward by entrepreneurial devotees like Jason Kinzler from PitchEngine.

Todd was interviewed live on Twitter on February 27, 2009 and knocked it out of the park on a variety of topics around social media, PR, fear, and community-building.

1. @jaybaer: 1. Your firm, SHIFT Communications is recognized as a leader in the PR 2.0/social media biz. How does it differ from trad. PR?

  • @tdefren: We believe SM and Traditional PR are merging; we have hybridized our approach. All SHIFTers read/engage/call both MSM & bloggers.

2. @jaybaer: Interesting. So everyone in the company is involved in social media? No social media-specific siloing of roles and expertise?

  • @tdefren: No! That flies in the face of our beliefs. “Silos” = short-term, cynical thinking; shortchanges staff dev and client work.

3. @jaybaer: Are all members of your team hired with pre-existing social media skills, or do you train them up?

  • @tdefren: Even if they’re hired with foreknowledge, they must go thru our training protocols; there’s a “SHIFT Way” of doing things.
  • Having said that, “Social Media experience” is a nice-to-have not a necessity. This ain’t rocket science.

4. @jaybaer: You’ve added luminaries to your team recently like @pistachio @dough How does that work? A consultant in residence approach?

  • @tdefren: @Pistachio is not a SHIFT employee, but we love having her here, “on tap.” @Dough is a BigManOnCampus with SM, natch. But …
  • …we are pretty egalitarian at SHIFT. Everyone at all levels is encouraged to provide their insights/ideas.

5. @jaybaer: Re: ” The SHIFT way” your new e-book is outstanding. You talk about “atomizing content” Can you explain?

  • tdefren: ”Atomizing” content = “chunking” it; eg, make *all* content easy to point to & grab by others. Hard to explain in 140-chars! icon wink Todd Defren   The Twitter 20 Interview About Social Media and PR 2.0
  • Rather than publish a big PDF, ALSO make each major paragraph a blog post, so bloggers can point to specific sections vs. download

6. @jaybaer: I agree that it’s not rocket science. But how come so many brands are still paralyzed regarding social media?

  • @tdefren: 50 years’ worth of broadcasting a controlled mssg via MSM has calcified brand mktg practices. Loss of control-scary (but necessary)

7. @jaybaer: Are agencies culpable? Should they be pushing brands harder to get involved?

  • @tdefren: Agency must inform clients that NOT participating in conversations *already occurring* about their brand is an abdication of duty.

8. @jaybaer: (From @stephanieSAM) What’s the agency role in social media operations? Should social media engagement be outsourced to a third party?

  • @tdefren: Hybrid: agency can monitor, advise & participate (transparently) but clients definitely need to get involved as the official voice.

9. @jaybaer: On being part of the conversation, how many of your clients are in listening mode versus engagement mode? (h/t @lorenmcdonald)

  • @tdefren: Small majority engaged. But keep in mind our clients may be self-selecting, i.e., many came to us ready to do so; wanted counsel

10. @jaybaer: How do you ensure that PR has a seat at the social media table, in addition to or instead of advertising and digital teams?

  • @tdefren: PR uniquely qualified: SM is about dialogue, responsiveness, relevance amongst people. Ads/Digital = clever but interruptive; 1-way

11. @jaybaer: Where is PR as an industry falling short in terms of leading the social media charge? (don’t worry, no PR people are watching)

  • @tdefren: Internal training, primarily, and, trying to silo/specialize Social Media expertise, secondly. Bad PR folks spam SM channels. Sigh.

12. @jaybaer: What’s been the biggest challenge over the years moving from traditional PR to communications enabled by the social Web?

  • @tdefren: Biggest challenge is convincing clients of benefits of engagement vs. risks. Second: internal training. Training is hugely impt.

13. @jaybaer: Training of agency & client? How do you feel about having multiple/many client people involved? SM around peeps, not brand.

  • @tdefren: Training agency folks to better counsel clients, to answer 1st part. Training clients impt too, of course. Re: multiple people …
  • I’m fascinated by prospect of “distributed PR” ie., if 00′s of client’s employees tweet/blog, how does that impact PR? It’s coming.
  • Re: SM around people vs. brands:

14. @jaybaer: Do you feel the team @zappos is an early example of distributed PR? @comcastcares ?

  • @tdefren: @zappos & @comcastcares are great examples of “professional engagement” but it has mission, structure. No, I’m talkin’ wild west.
  • The “distributed PR” concept I am alluding to is probably a rathole. Worth a blog post in coming days, probably.

15. @jaybaer: Substantial angst around ROI of social media sweeping the land. What’s your take? What metrics do your focus upon?

  • @tdefren: One reason ROI is so tricky is each client defines it difftly; look for difft metrics – so we approach it on a case-by-case basis.

16. @jaybaer: Do you use social media monitoring tools? Which one(s)? How do they fit in to your big picture?

  • @tdefren: Google, Radian6, Meltwater, and some other tools… Part of our daily life: monitoring constantly. No one answer for this yet.

17. @jaybaer: You are the Godfather of the social media news release. How do you feel about its usage today?

  • @tdefren: @Pitchengine tells me he’s developed 5,000+ and I’m encouraged that major brands have tried the SMR. It’s on right side of history.

18. @jaybaer: Do you pitch bloggers differently than traditional media? How so? Does the SMNR impact that approach?

  • @tdefren: ”Respect=read+research=relevance” – same with msm and blogger outreach. SMRs=content additives; just more for folks to play with.

19. @jaybaer: Your e-book has an excellent section on search. How do you tie social media and SEO together at SHIFT?

  • @tdefren: GOOG loves fresh content: we put out a lot of it, and we try to make it worth linking to. Also always have SEO in mind (tags, etc.)
  • @jaybaer: Do you have dedicated SEO folks on staff? Do you recommend that for PR firms?
  • @tdefren: No, we just always keep basic SEO principles in mind. Where necessary we bring in trusted experts.

20. @jaybaer: How has your degree in Lit from Bard College assisted your career? Can you create Facebook pages in Chaucer-style olde English?

  • @tdefren: Believe it or not, just yesterday I discussed WB Yeats’ existential beliefs about the afterlife with a CNET reporter. So it helps.

 

Thanks very much to Todd for an outstanding interview. And to all viewers for the great questions and kind attention. 

Who do you want to see in future Twitter 20 interviews? Add names in the comments.

Related
  • http://www.davidandsampr.com/ Sam Alpert

    great interview, as always…

    Sam

    Sam Alpert’s last blog post..Power of the media

  • http://www.davidandsampr.com Sam Alpert

    great interview, as always…

    Sam

    Sam Alpert’s last blog post..Power of the media

  • Deb Plunkett

    Awesom interview! And thanks for organizing on here your blog – so much easier to follow the threads this way. You are a rockstar!

  • http://YourWebsite Deb Plunkett

    Awesom interview! And thanks for organizing on here your blog – so much easier to follow the threads this way. You are a rockstar!

  • http://courtneyparham.com/ Courtney Parham

    I appreciate the reference to Radian6.com! I have been looking to utilize a service like this in my PR work. Excellent insight and resources in this Twinterview.

    Thank you, Todd and Jason!

    Courtney Parham’s last blog post..08grad_PR: feeling empowered by stories of businesswomen and career articles at http://pinkmagazine.com

  • http://twitter.com/08grad_PR Courtney Parham

    I appreciate the reference to Radian6.com! I have been looking to utilize a service like this in my PR work. Excellent insight and resources in this Twinterview.

    Thank you, Todd and Jason!

    Courtney Parham’s last blog post..08grad_PR: feeling empowered by stories of businesswomen and career articles at http://pinkmagazine.com

  • http://www.halogen.no/ Henriette Hedlov

    Love it :)

    Henriette Hedlov’s last blog post..Effektrapporten – mer effektiv internettmarkedsføring

  • http://www.halogen.no Henriette Hedlov

    Love it :)

    Henriette Hedlov’s last blog post..Effektrapporten – mer effektiv internettmarkedsføring

  • http://twitter.com/tomokeefe1/status/1298520378 Tom O’Keefe

    Great Twitter interview from @jaybaer with @TDefren on Social Media & PR 2.0 http://bit.ly/DmXHG

  • http://twitter.com/intheblack/status/1298527526 Josh Austin

    RT @TomOKeefe1 Great Twitter interview from @jaybaer with @TDefren on Social Media & PR 2.0 http://bit.ly/DmXHG

  • http://twitter.com/tomokeefe1/status/1298537464 Tom O’Keefe

    Great Twitter interview from @jaybaer with @TDefren on Social Media & PR 2.0 http://bit.ly/DmXHG #PRAdvice

  • http://twitter.com/behindthejersey/status/1298542054 Christy Hammond

    RT @TomOKeefe1 | Great Twitter interview from @jaybaer with @TDefren on Social Media & PR 2.0 http://bit.ly/DmXHG #PRAdvice

  • http://twitter.com/holakarla/status/1298654046 Karla Briones

    RT@SocialMedia411 The “Twitter 20″ Interview About Social Media and PR 2.0 w/Todd Defren (Jason Baer): http://bit.ly/Wkrm6

  • http://twitter.com/runmelodyrun/status/ Szu Shen

    RT @SocialMedia411 The “Twitter 20″ Interview About Social Media and PR 2.0 w/Todd Defren (Jason Baer): http://bit.ly/Wkrm6 [Interesting]

  • http://twitter.com/gdwold/status/1300229873 Greg Wold

    RT @SocialMedia411: The “Twitter 20″ Interview About Social Media and PR 2.0 w/Todd Defren (Jason Baer): http://bit.ly/Wkrm6 [Interesting]

  • http://www.funxdesign.com/ Lucas Clements

    Awesome style of interviewing. One thing that might make it easier to collect or others to follow is to uniquely HASH tag your interviews and then utilize twitter search for the output. Looking forward to reading more

  • http://www.funxdesign.com Lucas Clements

    Awesome style of interviewing. One thing that might make it easier to collect or others to follow is to uniquely HASH tag your interviews and then utilize twitter search for the output. Looking forward to reading more

  • http://twitter.com/roxanarugina/status/1315740175 Roxana Rugina

    bloggers approach: Respect=read+research=relevance dintr-un twitter interviu cu Todd Defren http://tinyurl.com/dcasef

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  • http://twitter.com/casey_ek_se/status/1406135082 Casey Monteiro

    Be on the right sider of history: great Twitter interview with the father of the social media press release http://bit.ly/ZnTxG

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  • http://twitter.com/weintraub/status/5394923995 Weintraub Adv

    RT @jaybaer Twitter Interview Todd Defren Social Media and PR | Twitter 20 – Interviews on Twitter | Social Media Co… http://bit.ly/2kXERZ

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    I just found a great company that builds websites for info products. To keep your costs low, they’ll mentor you on how to create your site, design a marketing funnel (one of the guys works in Hollywood and makes really slick videos), and the other guy programmed Myspace. If you’re looking to have professional web design for your small business and not waste any time or money then check their site out. Check them out: http://www.mikelmurphy.com/easy-info-product-site-system/