Twitter as PR-for-Hire

Patrick Kitano Managing Director, Brand into Media

Posted on March 25th 2009

Twitter as PR-for-Hire

Earlier this month, Jeremiah Owyang compiled a unique list of “sponsored conversations” that are taking root as the social media and advertising become intertwined. Up to now, that intersection has taken the traditional form of banner ads on blog sites. Not revolutionary.

WSJ’s Technology blog reports how Disney has hired @SavvyAuntie (Melanie Notkin) to Twitter publicize the 70th Anniversary Edition of Pinocchio.

Sean Corcoran, an analyst at Forrester Research, blogged about the new trends in “conversation marketing” and said the two most important conditions were transparency and authenticity.

“Both the marketer and the blogger must make it absolutely clear to the reader community that they are reading paid content,” he wrote. “The blogger should have complete freedom to write in their own voice — even if the content they write about the brand is negative.”

When asked why she thought Disney wanted her participation, Ms. Notkin said, “My brand is the right niche for them.” Her site has always been a “family brand” without any profane language or a political tone, she said.

There can be a broader corporate strategy behind hiring “hubs” who are appropriate to delivering a marketing message and buzz around products. It can be extended across a national stage. For example, a real estate brokerage may want to develop a Twitter-based recruitment campaign by hiring its most well known Twittering agents across America to explain why they like working at the brokerage. TV networks can promote new fall shows by showcasing the actors’ Twitter feeds and hiring celebrity following bloggers to generate buzz.

All done in the spirit of transparency and authenticity that @SavvyAuntie displayed with her Disney Pinocchio promotion:


Patrick Kitano

Managing Director, Brand into Media

Pat administers a global hyperlocal media network devoted to community service, a kind of "PBS" for social media sourced news. The Breaking News Network curates and aggregates the most interesting media feeds from local publications and blogs in over 300 cities. With over 400,000 followers at the local level, The BNN is being developed as one of the first brand advocate networks supporting good causes and arts organizations nationwide.

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