ASBPE In Search of Social Media Success Stories

Did your video series go viral? Was your Tweet one of the few heard around the world? Have you found a freelance assignment because of your branded page on Facebook? Then ASBPE wants to hear from you.

The Chicago chapter is looking for social media success stories for its upcoming Digital Boot Camp on April 20. We will be hosting a panel of writers and editors that have succeeded in engaging users through social media. If you believe you’re a good fit, let us know by March 1 by emailing

Adam Tinworth on The Rise of New and Social Media

Adam Tinworth

Adam Tinworth

For more than eight years, UK-based trade-press editor Adam Tinworth has chronicled on his blog the rise of new and social media and how they have shaped both his personal life and his career. Though change can be unsettling, Tinworth told John Bethune in a recent interview that the best strategy is not to resist it, but embrace it. Journalists, he said, must not only acknowledge, but learn to enjoy, “publishing into a more crowded, noisy, dynamic, and swashbuckling public sphere than ever before.”

As part of the interview, Tinworth offered some specific advice to business-to-business journalists, and suggested that they are well-positioned to take advantage of new media:

As you’ve noted, journalists today need to work with and produce not just text, but audio, video, and images. What can they do to develop and improve these kinds of skills?

Two things. The first: continue experimenting, including in their spare time. My video skills grew leaps and bounds by pulling together videos for my friends and family. I’m fond of the musician comparison (but I have a nasty feeling that I nicked it from Emily Bell): musicians don’t only play music when they’re on stage performing. And journalism, as a profession, shouldn’t only happen to deadline, for your main publication. Play, experiment. Enjoy the acts of reporting, creation and publication. If you don’t—or can’t—you’re in the wrong profession.

The other, of course, is to resist what Paul Bradshaw calls the Flying Zombie Laser Shark problem—editors or publishers pushing journalists to do everything. They should be aware of the potential of everything—but also be aware where their strengths lie. I’m mainly a words and images guy, with a little video, but no audio to speak of. That’s just my skill set. Every journalist needs to be aware of where their own balance is.

Compared with other types of journalists, do you think that trade journalists have any particular advantages in adapting to new media?

Yes—they do. The internet is a medium that is hard on generalists and kinder to niche specialists. B2B journalists aren’t trying to build communities—they’re serving communities that already exist. That gives us a head start over (say) national newspapers, whose audience is slowly being eroded by the million nibbling bites of more niche publications. We have a closer relationship, usually, with our audiences, because the people we’re reporting for are often the same ones that we’re reporting on. It’s therefore not so much of a stretch to take those offline networking skills and relationships, and bring them into the online space. It also gives us a faster and more personal feedback loop as to what is working and what isn’t.

However, we need to be prepared to get even more niche online than we were in print. Forget farmers, think livestock breeders. Forget the aviation industry, dive down to in-flight entertainment or defense.

You can read the rest of Tinworth’s interview on B2B Memes, where he describes how he developed his view of new media and both the opportunities and challenges it poses for journalism.

20 Online Tools To Improve Your Journalism Career

By Erin Hallstrom Erickson

Chicago Magazine’s Scott Smith revealed 20 tools to enhance your web presence during an ASBPE November webcast. Below are the tools he mentioned as well as examples he provided during the webcast.


14 Ways to Use Evernote:







Twitter lists!/HuffPostChicago/lists!/ChicagoMag/chicago-food-trucks





Google Analytics

Google Alerts

Google reader




LinkedIn Groups Help Blog Posts Soar

400. Four hundred. FOUR HUNDRED! This is how many times my blog post, “ ‘CFA credential implies a standard of care not always upheld,’ says Forbes opinion piece”, was shared, according to the ShareThis widget on my blog. “CFA” is short for chartered financial analyst, which is a credential that I hold.

I couldn’t have done it without LinkedIn Groups, the interest and affinity groups that you can join on the popular networking site. I shared my CFA credential post on three CFA-related LinkedIn Groups, where it generated conversations and clicks.

Here are the lessons I learned:

1. Sharing your blog posts on LinkedIn Groups can boost visits to your blog. Four hundred “shares” is above-average traffic for my blog.

2. A blog post targeted to hot spots of a few LinkedIn Groups can generate more traffic than a less-targeted post shared with many LinkedIn Groups. My popular post addressed ethics and fiduciary duty – topics that CFA charterholders care a lot about. I suspect that I couldn’t have generated another 400 “shares” by distributing my post to the rest of my 47 LinkedIn Groups.

3. You may wonder how to pick LinkedIn groups for sharing. Don’t share every blog post you write in every one of your groups. If you blog frequently, you’ll alienate group members who’ll tag you as a relentless self-promoter. Instead, focus on sharing into groups with members likely to be interested in your topic.

4. Another tip: Solicit feedback from members of the group on your post. Asking “Do you agree?” and then responding to comments shows that you’re not posting purely to generate page views. Plus, you may learn something from your exchange.

If LinkedIn Groups have generated good results for you, I’d enjoy hearing your success story.

Susan B. Weiner, CFA, leads a highly praised teleclass, “How to Write Blog Posts People Will Read: A 5-Week Teleclass for Financial Advisors.” She writes and edits articles, white papers, investment commentary, web pages, and other communications for leading investment and wealth management firms as well as financial trade publications.

Kiplinger Social Media Fellowship

From the Kiplinger Program at the Ohio State University, Columbus:

Want to learn the latest digital reporting skills?

The journalism field has radically shifted. But when you’re working endless hours and juggling two or three beats, it can be tough to make sense of it all.

That’s why the new Kiplinger Fellowship teaches you innovative digital tools and approaches — all at no cost to you.

This March 30-April 6, fifteen journalists will spend an intensive, hands-on week at Ohio State University, using social media to build a following, develop sources and cover their beats. We’ll talk Twitter, deep web searches, digital footprints, SEO, the backchannel and more. Tools you can use to get a step ahead in the constantly evolving digital world.

Then, back in the newsroom, you can log in for coaching sessions — getting tips and ideas from renowned journalists.

And there’s more — your editor has the option to attend our three-day condensed version of the training in June.

And thanks to the generous support of the Kiplinger Foundation, all of this will be free-of-charge — plus we’ll cover lodging and give you a travel stipend.

Want to apply? Visit for more details, or access our online application now.

Application Deadline: November 30, 2010

Contact: Debra Jasper, Director
Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism
John Glenn School of Public Affairs

Success: Social Media Networking

By Tonie Auer

Everyone keeps talking about social media and how we’ve all just got to be a part of it. I’m not sure who the “everyone” is really, but I’ll fill you in: they’re right. For one of the first times in my life, listening to my peers paid off in all the right ways.

I started small joining LinkedIn and reconnected with many contacts. Through the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon-style efforts, I found many others with whom I should be connected.

Later, I moved over to Facebook. I thought it would be simply a better way to stay connected with friends. Blogging had grown old to me and was getting tiresome. Trolls were irritating me and after doing it since July 2004, I was ready to slow down just a tad. My personal blog is still there, but is neglected, I hate to admit. It was writing I did for pleasure and when it ceased to be fun, I slowed down.

But, this Facebook thing, it’s a lot of fun and I learned — lo and behold — it could land me a bucketload of work. It really has. I have had my foot in the door to a couple of big contracts that haven’t come through just yet, but it was a way in that I hadn’t before had. I have gotten numerous freelancing and subcontracting gigs there for people I’ve never met in person. Through contacts of other contacts and name recognition, I’ve successfully “friended” many professionals, from the public relations and marketing world to magazines and other professionals. And I’ve reaped the benefits of multiple projects from it.

It has also worked well looking for sources for articles. I needed to find a local car dealer for an article and no one was returning my cold calls. I posted on FB what I needed and about a half-dozen journalist or PR friends posted the name of a PR gal who repped a car dealer. A few hours after posting that request, I was done with my interview. The same has happened for multiple stories. It has worked 100 times better than going to Help a Reporter Out. (I’ve never had luck there.)
So, if you’re still dragging your feet about the whole social media thing or consider it a time-waster – you’re only partially right. It can definitely be a drain on your valuable time, but it can also be a boon for finding work or finding sources for your projects.
Look me up on LinkedIn or Facebook.
Tonie Auer is the real estate reporter covering Dallas and Fort Worth for Bisnow Media.

Use Social Media to Unlock Your Most Valuable Asset: Your Staff

Photo: Steven Roll By Steven Roll

“You know, we have really good frozen naan in the freezer section,” the cashier at Trader Joe’s told me as she rang up the two boxes of instant Indian meals I had purchased. “Hold on a second,” I said, “let me go grab some.”

A few evenings later when I ate the naan with my family, I was glad the cashier spoke up. The India-style bread served at most Indian restaurants made our pre-packaged meal seem more like a take-out.Photo: Frozen Tandoor Naan

One of my favorite things about shopping at Trader Joe’s is how genuinely enthusiastic most of the staff is about their store’s offerings.

I can’t recall a time when a cashier at one of the major supermarkets in my town ever recommended something — or seemed enthusiastic about anything other than ending his or her shift.

The employees at Apple stores have a similar orientation toward customer engagement. Unlike the staff at most big-box electronics stores, most seem like people you might talk to at a party. A conversation that begins with me talking about a problem I had with my iPhone might digress into talk of upcoming 5k races.

Of course, journalists at B2B publications aren’t able to speak face-to-face with their subscribers. But social media tools such as blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn provide them with more ways than ever to engage with their readers.

This is an important opportunity because most business journalists have engaging personalities. It’s a trait that’s necessary to perform a job that mostly involves convincing industry leaders to share insights that will most likely be read by their competitors.

Subscribers are accustomed to reading articles with quotes from reputable sources or references to laws or other authority. But chances are they’re also interested in participating in a less formal conversation about the insights a business journalist has about the industry he or she covers.

Blog posts are an effective means of bridging the gap between a feature article and a conversation over coffee. Regular updates on Twitter and Facebook create a water-cooler effect, which transforms a byline into an actual person with worthwhile ideas.

This makes it more dangerous than ever to do anything but fully embrace social media. To do otherwise is to risk turning your publication into an experience that is about as memorable as a trip to your average supermarket or electronics store.

Steve Roll is the immediate past president of ASBPE.