July 2010

Love it or hate it, you have to admit, Facebook has created a global online community that offers huge opportunity (and equal risk) for many brands. Recently, Facebook launched a PR on Facebook page that provides some great information on how to use Facebook to connect with your stakeholders, consumers and community.

This is an excellent resource if you are interested in finding out if Facebook would be of value for your organization. And if it is of value, there is lots here that can help you to engage on Facebook.

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AHA Can Write

Shel Holtz has a very interesting piece on whether writing is a core skill for a professional communicator. He did a round up, asking several strategic communications professionals for their take and their responses are thoughtful and relevant. It’s an interesting topic and this piece is definitely worth reading.


There are some communicators who focus more on the actual craft of writing in their day-to-day work than others, but I can’t imagine that a professional communicator doesn’t need solid writing skills to do their job. Communication is at the very foundation of what we do (we are called communicators, after all) and words are the building blocks for communication. No matter how we communicate – through speeches, newsletters, meetings, video, webinars or any other form – at some point, there is writing involved. To be able to write clearly means that you can think clearly and that’s where it all begins – developing a strategy, defining the message and identifying the tools.

I think that there are different levels of writing well. There are some people that are gifted storytellers; these people can bring the information being shared to life. Their words engage. Others write in a more “corporate” manner, providing just the facts in an informative and straightforward way. Different things apply to different projects or initiatives. However, I strongly believe that if a person doesn’t have, at the very least, the basic skills – including spelling, punctuation and grammar – they will have a real challenge as a communicator.

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We’re big fans of Chris Brogan. He has a down-to-earth approach to marketing and he isn’t afraid to say what he thinks, even if it isn’t the most popular opinion. He has an interesting blog post on location-based social media applications. This created a bit of discussion in our Vancouver PR agency.

AHA Take

Overall, consensus is that we can’t quite find the business use for these location-based social media applications yet. At this point, I can’t think of any of our clients that would benefit. We don’t have any retail clients at the moment and will look much closer at these tools when we do.

On Friday afternoons (especially in the summer), we like to slow down and engage in discussion on how we can provide additional value for clients through new approaches. We don’t bill this time to our clients, it’s just us taking something like Foursquare and having a brainstorm on how it might be used for a client. It lets us get our creative juices flowing and it lets us think out of the box – sometimes way out of the box!

There are times when this brainstorming leads to something that benefits a client and there are times when we just keep hitting dead ends. I think hitting the dead ends is valuable. Knowing what doesn’t work is as important as knowing what works, in my opinion.

What’s your take? Are location-based social media applications something you would use – either personally or professionally?

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