Friday 30 August 2013

Weekly Wrap Up: You Reddit Here First...

On 9th August 2013 Stephen Hoffman posted the following on Reddit:
“IAmA Stephen L. Hoffman the CEO of Sanaria Inc. Yesterday we reported in Science magazine that our malaria vaccine completely protected volunteers against malaria! AMA!”

Reddit is a social book-marking site where “redditors” submit articles/ stories. These are then ranked according to their popularity by the public upvoting or downvoting the Reddit story.

When Stephen Hoffman posted the above (along with a blurb and a link to his article) he was inviting the public to read it, like or dislike his story, and to ask him anything they liked about the topic. This article received 738 Reddit points (967 readers liked it, 229 disliked it) and his AmA announcement received 124 comments…

“Mr. Hoffman, just stumbled upon this AMA and want to say thank you so much for your work, as well as your service for this country and arguably, now, the world!”– mualphatautau (a commenter).

So what was the result of Stephen Hoffman’s Reddit activity? Well, at least 1,196 engaged people must have clicked onto Sanaria’s article as that is how many people cared enough to vote on the Reddit story – excellent potential for website traffic.

On top of this, three days later published an article on Sanaria’s work on the malaria study. Whether or not the journalist had found this story through reddit is debatable, but it may have persuaded him to report chairman Douglas Doerfler’s statement about Hoffman: “top scientists are backing him because of his leadership, passion and determination”.

As discussed this week by Parry Headrick in PR daily, no longer do journalists wait for and rely upon the newswires sent by PRs for their stories, but they can (and prefer to) find what people actually want to read for themselves using sites such as Tumblr, Storify and Reddit. It appears that the salt-water ocean of PR led-journalism is being increasingly diluted with the fresh-water of social media, and like a halophillic diatom PR agencies must consequently work harder to compete in this new environment.

Headrick suggests that this new environment poses a challenge to the PR industry, but this challenge is an incredibly exciting one. Sites such as Reddit are now forcing PRs to think more creatively about how to best represent their clients. The days of dry press releases are gone, and we must now come up with new and engaging brand stories and tactics to spark journalist interest.

These sites also demonstrate the importance of brand engagement with social media. A brand now needs a story, a face, a personality, rather than just a product. Stephen Hoffman had a real and honest conversation with the public, and Sanaria benefited as a result.

Eric Savitz, of Forbes Magazine, talks about the importance of “building authentic conversations” and this is exactly what Reddit AMA stands for… Stephen Hoffman’s success for Sanaria should stand as an example to all company CEOs, whether they be B2B or B2C, as to the importance of being approachable, interesting and (above all) socially engaged.

Abchurch’s prestigious Market Lunch programme kicked off again this week, with two events, one Oil & Gas focus and the second a China centred lunch.

IAmA “I am A” -  ‘subreddits’ enabling users to post an “AMA” or “Ask Me Anything” i.e. a question on any topic. Occasionally notable individuals participate in IamA chats including President Barack Obama and Morgan Freeman.

SouthBanquet takes over the South Bank this weekend. At the £15 street-party-style event, diners will feast on low-carbon footprint pork dishes such as tenderloin, chorizo and belly.

Take the kids to Little Creatures Family Festival at London Zoo, Regent’s Park. The weekend festival features interactive stage shows such as ‘Tigers Live!’, a pedal-powered disco and a chance to help Shaun the Sheep break a Guinness World Record.

East London gets ready for the time of it’s life as Future Cinema takes charge with its live cinema experience of Dirty Dancing. Hackney Downs will be transformed this weekend into the all singing, all dancing Kellerman’s Holiday Camp.

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