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Final Day of Users Conference ends on singular note

David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing & PR"

Here’s a look at some of today’s speakers from the 2011 Vocus Users Conference.

David Meerman Scott

Fourth keynote speaker David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing & PR,” drove home the point that PR people should be creating great content. Despite Charlie Sheen’s drug problems, and whether or not you like the Grateful Dead or President Barack Obama, there are things to be learned from them, he noted. Scott is especially inspired by Sheen’s ability to not be boring. Another one of Scott’s favorite lessons comes from Cisco Systems, which created a video about a Cisco ASR 9000 router – possibly one of the most boring tech topics. Instead of going the expected route, they made a mock 1940s commercial about how to show a woman you love her by giving her not diamonds, but a huge computer processor. Many industry blogs picked it up and it became a viral video.

Scott also made a point to discuss fear. Fear prevents businesses from blogging about competitors. He suggested to the audience to stop using the phrase “social media” with their clients and bosses and start using the phrase “real time marketing.” Continuing with the Sheen example, he stated that Sheen was not afraid to fail, which freed him to be more creative, even after his road show tour went south.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is from Spin Sucks Pro, a blog that helps PR people gain insight into their industry. She showed attendees how to get bloggers to write about them. The secret, she said, is all about knowing bloggers’ content and understanding what their number one goal is. “You can’t send a mass email and then start to whittle down your list from there,” said Dietrich. “PR people send a mass email, then wait for people to reply with a request to be removed from that list. That’s not the way to build relations.” She then proceeded to show examples of good pitches she received from PR people. Each example used her name, which is tricky to spell, and knew what content she had covered in the past.

Peter Shankman

Final keynote speaker Help A Reporter Out (HARO) founder Peter Shankman, while speaking extremely fast, added several new lessons to the conference. “Social media is a much larger way to screw up in front of a much larger audience,” said Shankman. He also drove home the point that social media is partly about making money. “If you’re not looking at social as a way to make money, get out of the room. Cool only goes so far, revenue goes further.” Engagement is great, Shankman said. “But it has to be couched in revenue. You have to be a marketing expert first, then you can be a social media expert.” He also forecast that the social Web will become more personalized. For example, when people research where they want to eat or which PR firm they want to hire, other people’s recommendations and suggestions will begin to appear first on Google. “We have to become better at customer service,” he said. “It’s not going to be about liking your page; it’s going to be about having an experience with your company.”

His final point felt like the most important, especially after hearing from so many speakers that PR people should be creating content. Shankman noted that it has to be good, well-written content. “How do you reach an audience when no one knows who you are? Learn to write,” said Shankman. “Bad writing is killing America.” The audience virtually gave him a standing ovation.

— Rebecca Bredholt

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