Monday, February 25, 2008

Maggie Fox explains SMPRs, Digital Snippets

The final virtual guest lecture in my WOM class this semester featured Maggie Fox of the Social Media Group in Toronto discussing Digital Snippets, which is her agency's platform for Ford's and other companies social media press releases.

Maggie showed us the slide show her agency used to pitch Ford on the idea, so of course I'm not going to spill all their secrets. But here are some thoughts that may be useful for students and educators just learning about the SMPR.

First things first: consider the reason for adopting the platform. The purpose of an SMPR is to get content out. Blogs are good for leadership, social networks for broad engagement-- so strategy comes before tactics. Maggie said they consider the SMPR a way to help "digital influencers tell their stories, not for telling stories to digital influencers." This is a key point, illustrated by the fact that the Digital Snippets SMPRs are not comments-enabled; they don't host the conversation but provide content that others can use in their conversations.

The target audience is bloggers, podcasters, Facebook and Flickr groups, and forums, but also mainstream media. Online versions of the MSM are hungry for content, and providing video, pictures, etc. can help them get the story out, too.

Content, therefore, should be rich: lists, videos, quotes, charts, photos. Serving as a credible source will help others get your story out, increase the likelihood of others using your content.

Digital Snippets is in essence a frequently updated Web site, much like a blog; rather than issuing a new SMPR or page, the agency updates the platform, and the story evolves over time (in other words, not 10 news releases on Ford and the environment, but 10 updates to the environment SMPR). Sections (snippets) are RSS-enabled and the history is archived so people can see the evolution. Here's the template.

Maggie concluded by offering some thoughts on measurement, which can include

I wonder if my students learned as much as I did!?!

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Once again, Karen - thanks so much for asking me to participate, I really enjoyed our session!
All thanks to you, Maggie. It was incredibly helpful. Links to our conference coverage soon. :)
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"More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given" --Bertrand Russell

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