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VOL. 126 | NO. 178 | Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Corporate Blogs at Heart of Seminar

By Sarah Baker

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A marketing strategy is essential to any successful business model.

Companies that ignore the rising power of social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs are sure to be ignored by potential consumers.

But just having a presence isn’t sufficient, said globally recognized blogger, educator, business consultant and author Mark W. Schaefer.

“No person or business should spend the time on social media without really assessing their strategy and really looking at where are their customers, readers or constituents,” Schaefer said. “If you think you know where your customers are getting their information today, now might be a good time to double check.”

Local professionals will take a look at issues like these when The Daily News hosts its Social Media seminar Thursday, Sept. 15.

The seminar – sponsored by Howell Marketing Strategies LLC and Jackson Lewis LLP – will be held at 3:30 p.m. at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Auditorium, 1934 Poplar Ave. The discussion, led by Schaefer, will focus on corporate blogging and how companies effectively use blogs.

“Blogging has evolved a lot,” Schaefer said. “A lot of people think about blogging as a personal journal, but there are all kinds of blogs out there today that are impacting lots of different elements of strategies. I’m going to talk about some business benefits of blogging, even if nobody reads it.”

Schaefer has worked in global sales, PR and marketing positions for nearly 30 years and now provides consulting services as executive director of Knoxville-based Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University.

When he teaches blogging to his students, he emphasizes that in order for blogs to be effective, they need to be RITE – Relevant, Interesting, Timely and Entertaining.

“Entertaining is not a word you hear around the halls of corporate America too much,” Schaefer said. “But if you think about the types of content that go viral, something that you or your readers might remember, chances are, it was compelling, funny or gripping in some way. We’re in an attention economy right now, that’s what social media and the Internet is all about. To get people’s attention, you have to have some element of entertainment in your content.”

Following Schaefer’s keynote, a panel of industry experts will also discuss practices and policies governing the use of social media. Those panelists are Jim Mulroy, managing partner of Jackson Lewis; Eric Epperson, vice president of corporate culture and communications at Pinnacle Airlines Corp.; and Ken Rohman, senior vice president and director of digital services at archer>malmo.

Each panelist will tackle how businesses translate into a social media presence. Pinnacle, for instance, is more of a business-to-business type brand, so it in turn focuses its content almost exclusively as a way to connect to its employees, Epperson said.

“Where most people think of blogging and social media from the standpoint of drawing consumers and speaking to your brand externally, we have a very different need and that is because of the nature of who we are and our business model,” he said. “The bulk of our focus really is using Facebook and LinkedIn as a way to build community within our different airlines all over the country. Social media is a great way to pull them together. Externally, we use Twitter mostly just to promote travel ideas, vacation tips, occasionally, if there’s a big travel trend story.”

The social media seminar is the latest in a series of informational seminars hosted by The Daily News and The Memphis News in hopes of providing local industry specialists insight into the latest trends.

Thursday’s program will last about 90 minutes, with a cocktail reception to follow. The cost is $25. While seating is available, those interested are encouraged to register as soon as possible.

To register, visit www.memphisdailynews.com/seminar. Inquiries can be directed to The Daily News’ marketing manager Donna Waggener, at 528-8122 or dwaggener@memphisdailynews.com.

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