Category Archives: Social media

Curating With!

USF Scoop.ItI’m lucky to work with an innovative social media team. They’ve led the way in turning an anemic online social community of about 50 at the University of San Francisco into one with hundreds of contributors and an audience of more than 60,000. How great is that!?

What used to be a few campus faculty, media folks, and interested students is now open to almost anyone who publishes content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other channels with the #USFCA hashtag. The university’s social media team track the #USFCA content and then choose the best to “scoop” — publishing what they find on the curated platform to be read and shared.

Be the #hashtag

So what is this newfangled curation platform? founder Guillaume Decugis visited campus to talk more about it. He praised #USFCA and highlight other brands like Ashoka Communty’s Change Making Today campaign. Check out Guillaume’s Slideshare and watch USF E-communications Director Thomas Listerman talk about the difference has made at USF.

Not only has improved the social community on campus, it has advanced USF’s brand and it’s only been in use for about six months. What do you think of

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

‘Earned Media’ With Online Content

earned media cartoonBuild it Before you Need it

When it comes to getting the word out about your issue, cause, or organization, there are three types of media you can use: owned, paid, and earned.

Paid media is, simply put, advertising. Owned media are the channels, tools, and content that you control. At one point, that meant your brochure or newsletter. These days, those tools run the gamut from your website, blog, and e-newsletter to the latest social media fad (Vine, anyone?).

The third type of media, earned, is considered the holy grail of media. Traditionally, earned media has been defined as the visibility you earn when a journalist reports on your issue, cause, or organization. It is coverage in newspapers, on the radio, on TV. Typically, you or your organization orchestrate a strategic news moment, which you share with reporters through news conferences, press releases, or just targeted pitches. It’s not free media. You earn it — not only through the newsworthiness of your story, but through the sheer work it takes to land coverage.

In today’s digital age though, the definition of earned media has expanded. It’s no longer just what reporters are saying about you. These days, you also earn visibility through blogs, email, shares, and social media interaction and engagement — in other words, online content. This is earned media 2.0, and it’s more powerful than ever, accelerating visibility and conferring third-party credibility on your news.

We’re all media publishers now

There are two reasons for the evolving nature of earned media. One is that we are all media publishers now. At one point, only media companies and journalists generated content that people could consume. Now, with the advent of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blog platforms, and so much more, everyone can amass an audience. The only distinction these days between traditional media companies/professionals and everyone else is audience size. Mass media reaches a larger audience size, but even that has shifted. Remember when everyone made a big deal about Ashton Kutcher having more Twitter followers than CNN? And that was 2009.

The second reason is that technology and the web have dramatically changed how we consume news. The days of sitting in front of the television for the evening news or waiting to read about the news of the day from the morning paper has passed. Now, we encounter news pretty much all day long, on multiple platforms (our smartphones or tablets, our desktops or laptops, via search) and from multiple sources (our favorite podcast, our high school friend on Facebook, or our favorite niche blog).

5 steps to remake your earned media strategy

If the definition of earned media has been redefined, we now have to rethink our media strategies as well. Traditional media relations is no longer enough. Organizations and causes have to embrace the power of their own media channels in order to tell their story and engage their stakeholders.

Our media strategies must integrate owned media outreach with media relations. That means 1) developing email content or blog posts along with press releases and targeted pitches to media. It means 2) prioritizing a social media strategy with graphics or other content that encourages sharing and engagement. During the media monitoring phase, it means 3) tracking not just the hits we get in papers or on the news, but also whether we’ve sparked conversations on social media or on blogs. And it means 4) using owned media or paid media to create an amplification loop that feeds off of any earned media 2.0 coverage that was generated. A great example of this type of integrated strategy is United We Dream’s “Operation Butterfly” campaign, which successfully combined traditional media outreach with great use of owned media engagement for maximum impact.

Build it before you need it

Finally, it means 5) building it before you need it. A segmented email list, a website with a blog or a section on your website that can be continuously updated, and consistent engagement on social media channels are now necessary owned media ingredients of an organization’s ongoing communications strategy. By spending time building engagement across your owned media channels, you’ll be well positioned to score with earned media 2.0 when strategic news opportunities hit.

Bilen Misfin Packwood is a 13-year media veteran who has worked as a journalist and PR professional, including a stint leading communications for Kamala D. Harris, San Francisco’s former district attorney, before founding Change Consulting. Bilen turned her observations about earned media into a Ted-style talk at SPIN Academy South 2012. Follow her blog at and on Twitter @bmisfin.

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

Raise your profile with Google Authorship

The evolution of social

The evolution of social.

It’s hard to know what social media is worth your time, professionally speaking. I often hear people’s frustration. “I don’t have time for Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Tumbler, Pinterest, LinkedIn…” The list goes on.

So how can you get the most bang for your buck? For better and for worse, Google is where it’s at. At least for now. If you want Google Search to find you, you’ll want to look into Google Authorship.

Google search has changed

It’s a simple idea. Your photo appears next to your content as a call-out. It instantly sets you apart and attracts the eye. This tool goes hand-in-hand with Google’s new focus of using search to connect searchers with people and organizations that have some expertise on the topic.

You’ve almost certainly seen this and maybe you’ve thought how did they do that? Now you can.

1) First, establish a Google + profile.
2a) If you have an email address that matches the website domain of the organization where you publish then register it here in 4 easy steps and you’re ready to go.
2b) If you don’t have an email address that matches, then you can connect your Google + account with your website in 3 easy steps, if you can access the html view of your website.

If you don’t have full access to your site’s html, say because you use a blog site, don’t give up. Try this simple workaround, I came up with.

Stuck? Try this workaround

3) Publish your Google + profile ID (That’s the url with the long string of numbers that’s unique to your Google + profile on your homepage e.g. It will create a hyperlink on the page. Unfortunately, it can’t be “hidden” in widgets, comments, tags, and other places — at least not in

Think you’ve got it? Test it out here. Still stuck? Shoot me an email or tweet me!

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

3 ways to love your blog and get others to love it too: branding, design, social


Building a better, stronger, faster Web Content Insider blog.

Welcome to Web Content Insider, my revamped blog about, you guessed it, web content best practices. It’s been overhauled for better branding and SEO, and easier sharing via social media. I first rolled out the blog seven months ago, making good on a promise to myself. It was an experiment.

Since then, I’ve connected with dozens of bloggers and industry experts. I hope that’s just the beginning. And every week I learn something new about content marketing, blogging, the use of images and design, and tactics for building readership. It’s exciting. It’s re-energizing. So, in that respect, the blog has been a success.

A blog by any other name

1. The new iteration improves on branding with a more memorable name and imagery carried across multiple platforms.

2. It takes advantage of a simple yet eye-catching and elegant design.

3. It directly links with Google + and Pinterest, expanding on previous connections with Twitter and LinkedIn, for better SEO. That’s in addition to better SEO from a new url and name.

All-in-all, some substantive improvements. Don’t you think? Next up, I plan to devote more energy to recruiting guest contributors from among my industry connections. Ideas include someone in public relations and branding, a graphic designer, a videographer, and, perhaps, a certified Mac expert. What web content topics do you want to know more about? Contact me via the form on the About page or just tweet me.

See you online—

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

Our Predicament…

Communications and marketers are trained to get attention by creating content. But the more content there is the less attention there is. The more free content there is the more expensive attention becomes. More @GerryMcGovern

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

4 Reasons @Mentions, Re-tweets, and, #Hashtags are Critical

University of Portland Facebook page

Click to enlarge.

Feeding your own social media channels is a terrific first step. But don’t stop there. To get the biggest bang for your social media buck, promote your Facebook posts, Tweets, and Pins by friending and following others who have a similar interest or expertise — then mention them.

Why should you bother? Because it can help you in four ways:

1) It improves your search results by populating your social media pages and potentially others with quality links that lead back to your page.

2) It establishes social relationships, which is what social media is about, helping you spread what your message when others like, re-tweet, and re-pin what you share. Mentioning clients, friends, and followers is the surest way to get their attention and engage them.

3) It encourages interaction with your message, as readers view such sharing as a conversation and not a sales pitch.

4) It encourages reciprocal sharing, which can help build your audience.

The social multiplier

Look at how Joe Kuffner at the University of Portland recent used this strategy on the school’s Facebook page, calling out the San Francisco Giants, the University of Portland’s Women’s Soccer Team, and Portland’s professional women’s soccer team. By mentioning the Giants and the Thorns, the post feeds into what others say on their FB pages (unless that feature is blocked) and the teams can choose to highlight share Kuffner’s UP post with their own fans.

The same is true when it comes to mentioning fellow tweeters using their @handle or a commonly searched #hashtag. Followers of those handles or hashtags will see your message and might very well share it and begin to follow you.

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

How Social Can Help Your SEO

Social media risingDuring a recent OakTech Talk seminar with Beth Kanter, author of the “Networked Nonprofit,” someone asked whether their nonprofit had to be on social media. Well, you don’t have to do anything. But whether you work for a nonprofit, private university, or small business, you have a valuable message to communicate to clients and customers.

Kanter’s advice: Build your social network. But don’t try to do everything. Strategically choose what’s likely to be most beneficial. Stay with it. Measure it. Learn from what it has to tell you and what questions it raises. Who does your brand engage? What type of content resonates with readers?

Meet your readers where they are

There are many advantages to being on social media, not the least of which is that you can reach readers, clients, customers, and investors where they are—rather than depending on them to find you online. Now a days, being where readers are means better search results. That’s because search engines in recent years began including results from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Driving readers from social media to your site improves your search engine score and improves your rank in the search engine algorithm. The more your social media posts are discussed and shared the better for your search results. So, if your “How Social Can Help Your SEO” post goes viral on Twitter, you can bet Google, Bing, and Yahoo! search will take that into account when someone searches “SEO”—placing your site nearer the top.

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

Very Pinteresting: How social media can help you spread the word with images

PinterestProPublic2The popularity of the image-based social media site Pinterest is making it hard for publishers of any kind to ignore. Savvy news publications, nonprofits, and companies are using Pinterest boards to aggregate and catalog research tools creatively. Just like Facebook stopped being just for college students a while back, Pinterest is quickly being used by more than online shoppers.

What’s so special?

Boards allow you to mix your own content with reposted content that you want to feature without dealing with the legal dilemma of copyrights and photo credits that plague blogging platforms. For writers and editors, a.k.a “word people,” Pinterest offers a nice-looking platform where even the geekiest content (infographics, charts, and maps) can be displayed with a sexy look.

Having surpassed Tumblr and expected to overtake LinkedIn in popularity this year, Pinterest recently received yet another round of funding and launched its new look. You should care because your readers and potential collaborators are pinning away.

What should inspire you?

Pro Publica,” beyond being one of the most dogged sources of investigative journalism out there, also has a solid, useful Pinterest account (under the cute catchphrase, “Journalism in the Public (P)interest.”). The organization’s boards cull resources, exhibit its projects, and even give a face to its operations.

The feminist “Ms.” magazine uses Pinterest to answer a simple and relevant question for their readership, “Where are all the millennial feminists?” The board is a comprehensive answer, detailing the struggles and accomplishments of young feminists around the world. The board tells a story, as well as gives due credit to the many different projects it links back to.

A smaller, more personal endeavor is my board, Raw Data Resource, where my collaborators and pin useful data sources. From campaign finance disclosure records to the Holocaust victims search tool, the board is a starting point for any numbers-based writing.

Learn more about Candice at

Beth Kanter: 6 tips to measure your networked nonprofit

beth_kanterWebWhen Beth Kanter, a luminary in the world of social media for nonprofits came to town last week, it was clear that many who had gathered to hear her speak felt overwhelmed. One after another nonprofit staff member expressed frustration: We’re a staff of two people • We don’t have the time • We don’t have the budget • Our board members dislike social media.

But then, something unexpected happened. Kanter, a visiting scholar for social media and nonprofits at the David & Lucille Packard Foundation and co-author of the books “The Networked Nonprofit” and the follow-up “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit,” asked everyone to stand. “Repeat after me,” she chimed. “I give myself permission to fail… No, no. Louder. Say it like you mean it.”

“I call that a ‘failure bow.’ Now you can stop worrying about falling on your face and start learning,” said Kanter, speaking at Oakland’s East Bay Community Foundation as part of the OakTech Talk series.

6 tips for measuring nonprofits

To keep the fear of failure at bay, Kanter offered nonprofits 6 tips.

  1. Decide to be data informed, not data driven. Data is one of several metrics. It shouldn’t be the only metric.
  2. Determine what your goal is. Do you want to build your activist community? Identify potential donors?
  3. Figure out who you need to reach to accomplish your goal.
  4. Zero in on one or two metrics to measure your success.
  5. Establish a benchmark and build from there.
  6. Make a pact with yourself to learn as you go.

The “B” word — buy-in

For those hardest to convince, Kanter suggested finding an ally in your organization who can help make your case and to be your sounding wall. In addition, track and compare your organization to its peers. It can be a secret weapon. After all, what’s more powerful than old fashioned peer pressure?

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

Your web content dreams come true

Counterspill3WebOne of the best websites of 2012 was created by the folks at CounterSpill. It has an interactive map of coal, gas, nuclear, and oil spills, tons of videos, up-to-date news stories, a community blogs feed, and an updating Twitter feed.

The centerpiece of this site is the interactive map. Readers can click on a specific spill and be taken to a landing page with video, a timeline of events, photos, and facts about the spill.

From interactive to engaged

In contrast to the Pine Ridge Sioux site, which is an interactive and interesting site, Counterspill goes the extra mile to engage its readers. Right up at the top the homepage, readers are invited to become part of CounterSpill’s social media community. There is a rotating feed of the latest Tweets about various spills. Bloggers’ and activists’ videos feature prominently on the site, below the fold. And news stories, also below the fold, show the number of engagements, e.g. Facebook likes and re-Tweets.

This is a beautiful site. I especially enjoy the way the Tweets, news, and community feed rotate horizontally as well as vertically, offering readers twice as much information without scrolling. Genius!

by Ed Carpenter — He’s a bad mutha … shut yer mouth.

%d bloggers like this: