Tuesday, September 25, 2007

ProElite offers MMA based online social network

ProElite is probably considered the second most powerful force in the world of mixed martial arts today. The parent company to such MMA promotions as EliteXC, Cage Rage and a publicly traded company(ProElite Inc. ), ProElite has made its own efforts to become more visible in social media by offering their own social network at ProElite.com. This network has the same features of myspace and facebook in that it allows you to have a profile with pictures, videos, and even a blog. This social network is created for the many MMA fans around the world and is not only a good idea for strengthening the ProElite brand but also a great PR tool for the organization and the fighters themselves. Many MMA fighters have profiles and actively blog through their profiles and accept friend requests from fans. This also gives the fighters a forum to discuss problems or controversies that might have occurred during fights. The tag line for the new social network is "Empowering the Fighting Community".

With all this said:

Do you think that there are too many social networking sites on the web today?

Are these niche networking sites going to be around in 5 years?

When does addition of such social networks to organizations begin to subtract from the organizations online experience?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

IKEA's social media efforts

The social media campaigns that Ikea is using to support their new branding campaign seem to be closely aligned together. Ikea’s new advertising campaigns slogan of “Home is the most important think in the world” works well with the two social media efforts in that they express the same attitude about the home. I get a sense of trying to make people have pride in their home from the myamericaathome.com and notgoinganywhere.co.uk websites. The myamericaathome.com, seems like building a time capsule of life in 2007 using home as the continuous theme. This works well for Ikea, which sells products for your home. The notgoinganywhere.co.uk website is similar to the US site but seems that it might have a much longer shelf life. Which brings us back to the new Ikea slogan. Which I feel will help in the progression of the Ikea brand from (as Brian Solis stated about brands today) “that brands are evolving from catchy slogans and artistic logos to living, breathing personalities that are defined by the people, principles, and community-focused activities behind them.” Both Ikea social media efforts are living breathing forums of user generated content. However, as Solis warns, marketers are not welcome to the “conversation”. Marketers have difficult time ahead of them in figuring out how to get in the conversation without pissing a whole lot of people off. It will be interesting to see how many people end up using the sites and what really comes out of both.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Small Business is good for America and Blogging is good for Small Business

After perusing through Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba’s ChurchoftheCustomer.com, I found a good article about why small businesses should blog in the essential readings side bar menu. They present seven main reasons why small business blogging should be done and five don’t of small business blogging. The reasons are fairly intuitive, but there are some that you might not have thought of. Blogging for business can help break down the “walls” of a company to facilitate communication directly with the coveted 1%ers and get instant feedback from current and future customers. Additionally, a business’s blog is an inexpensive place on the web that companies can offer in which people can get alternate information than just a company website. Also, I believe that company blogs can help personalize the business I would go further to say that big business could follow the same model described in the article for such things as investor relations.

With most of us in PR Social Media class heading toward the professional world in the next few years (not to mention we signed up to take the PR Social Media class to learn more about the topic), we need to realize the benefits that blogging can do for companies and ourselves*. As we all have seen blogging is an inexpensive place that offers great public relations opportunities to communicate with company publics. Offering blogs gives the customer a place to get first hand knowledge of current topics in a company. Thoughts, comments, reactions? I want to know what you think.

*Also check out this SHORT article in which self proclaimed 1%er Lewis Green discusses several benefits of his involvement in social media.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Houston Rockets Browser Toolbar and Widgets

The Houston Rockets (the NBA's Houston franchise) have just made available a Rockets based web browser toolbar and a "Countdown to Home Opener" widget. The toolbar comprises of links to the teams homepage as well as several other related links. Also, the Yahoo! powered toolbar has a search engine built in. The widget consists of a graphic of the star players as well as countdown timer to the teams home opener for the 2007-2008. Both the toolbar and widget are free for download.

With regards PR, the toolbar and the widget are great ways of keeping their organization visible to their public. By offering these new applications at this time (it is the NBA's off-season) the organization is bringing themselves back into their public’s consciousness and letting them know that the new season is just around the corner. I feel that other organizations (not just sports but many other industries) could benefit from offering such applications to their specific publics. I was made aware of the Rockets toolbar and widget by a email newsletter that I subscribe. Usint the email newsletter as mode for making aware, the probability of your public actually using the new apps is higher since they have already shown that they are interested in the organization because they have signed up for the email newsletter. What do you guys think? Is offering new web applications such as the toolbar and widget useful or just a waste of time? You don't need to think about it only from a sports perspective, think about what other non-web based organizations (besides Yahoo!, Google, etc.) might be able to use such web apps to keep themselves in their publics consciousness.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Emerging Technology for an Emerging Sport: Podcasting PR in MMA

Mixed martial arts or MMA (the Ultimate Fighting Championship is the most recognizable MMA organization in the world today) is one of the fastest growing sports in the world today. The sport is now only beginning to receive some national media coverage, and the internet is and has been an integral part of getting information to fans for years. Within the past two or three years several of the leading independent MMA news sites have begin offering PODCAST radio shows as a different way of getting MMA news to fans. These podcasts are a great Public Relations opportunity for the websites that produce them, the MMA fighters, and the sport itself. One of the most popular MMA podcasts is produced by sherdog.com (which is one of the leaders in worldwide MMA coverage). Sherdog.com offers four different shows feature someone from the their website including the sites editor, owner, column writers, and fight commentators. The shows are broadcast live over the internet and are available for podcast for free through the iTunes store. The live broadcast allow for listeners to call in and get answers or add comments to the people behind the website. Listeners can also email the shows or participate in a live chat through sherdog.com. These shows are also a great PR opportunity for fighters. They are given a forum to talk first hand to their most important public: the fans. Information is allowed to pass straight from the fighters to the fans without the filter of a fight promoter such as the UFC skewing information to favor themselves. The podcasts are also great PR for the sport itself. Sherdog.com’s shows frequently feature guests such as medical doctors, members of state athletic commissions, fight promoters, etc. To access the podcasts go the RADIO section from sherdog.com’s homepage or they can be found at the iTunes store. The podcasts from sherdog.com are a great example of using emerging technologies for PR in an emerging sport.