In 1995 I was privileged to be given a glimpse of the future.
While working on a PR campaign for a distance education program delivered by UK Universities, I was invited to visit the Micro-Electronic Development Center at Paisley University where the program was conceived and the content was created. Students in far-flung parts of the world were being tutored online by professors in England and Scotland. They had rich media content, chat rooms and live video sessions.
The Aha! Moment
My immediate question was – will this ever be available to the main in the street?
They assured me that within 15 to 20 years everyone would have access to broadband and be consuming rich media content online. The light bulb went off – that would change how people found information and news. It would change the media and it would change the way businesses communicate with their stakeholders. Digital content would become a vital part of marketing and PR.
That realization changed the course of my career.
My Digital Revolution
In 1999 I moved to the United States and took a position as PR Director for one of the first broadband providers. My intention was to learn everything I could about the Internet, online communication and writing content for the web. Every spare moment I had was spent asking questions in tech support, reading books like The Cluetrain Manifesto or taking courses to improve my knowledge and skills.
One of the important things I learned was how important online communities and forums are, and how to monitor and handle consumer-generated content. The main lesson though was that digital content and online conversations are not a technical division issue – they belong in marketing and PR. Another major lesson was the importance of content. An early study by Jakob Nielsen stated that the quality and freshness of the content is the number one reason a person goes back to a website.
This early start also introduced me to Google soon after it launched and I soon realized the importance of search engines. As one of the first PR practitioners to do Search Engine Optimization for news and PR content I was invited to present at the Search Engine Strategies conferences in the US, Canada and the UK. I’ve tracked with Google’s algorithm changes now for 17 years.
By the end of 2000 I had started my own agency and although I often got weird looks when I told people what I did, I persevered. This early start has given me a depth of understanding about digital content and how it has progressed over the last twenty years that few others have.
The PRoactive Report covers the intersection of technology, marketing and PR and how digital is disrupting these disciplines. Started in 2003 it was one of the very first PR blogs online and is still rated a top 20 PR blog. It is a resource for my 25,000+ followers on Twitter.
SMART News: how to create branded content that gets found in search and shared on social media is available on Amazon.
SMART News is a step-by-step guide on how to write press releases and other news content in the digital age. The public and the media use search engines and social media to find news and information. A press release that is well written and follows the rules of search – including Google’s new rules for content- and social media can increase views and engagement and drive traffic to your website or newsroom.
Updated 2nd edition. Includes all Google’s new rules for content from the Panda 4.0 update that impacted news release websites.
2005: 25 Women Who Rock Social Media
2009: PR Trainer of the Year
2010: 25 Women who Rock Social Media (Only two women have made this list twice)
2015: PR/Tech Pioneer
2017: Top 10 PR Influencers on Twitter
Social Media Profiles