11/17/11 – Shel Holtz Presented “Maximum Awareness, Minimal Effort” at Avery Dennison

IABC-LA presented “Maximum Awareness, Minimal Effort” by Shel Holtz on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at the Avery Dennison headquarters in Pasadena.  Holtz is an expert in communications, social media and technology and was superbly engaging in sharing “What’s the least we need to stay in touch, remain marketable and keep up-to-date?” And who has the time to use all these tools?

Holtz of Holtz Communications+Technology, is also known for his outstanding “For Immediate Release” (FIR) podcasts on business communications and tech with co-host with Neville Hobson.  He is a former IABC-LA chaper president and his expertise covers employee communications, corporate PR, crisis comms, media relations, financial comms, IR, marketing comms and compensation and benefits communications.

Shel addressed over 20 IABC-LA members over a buffet dinner at Avery Dennison’s cool 1960’s-style headquarters (the welcoming Koi pond was incredible!).  Christopher Swan of Avery Dennison assisted with providing the venue and an outstanding professional development evening.  The evening kicked off with member introductions and Paula introducing Holtz. We were just delighted to have Shel address the chapter…knowing full well of his intense global and domestic schedule.

Shel led everyone through various social media channels with an emphasis on matching the right tool with what the user is trying to accomplish with an audience.  Going beyond the standard FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn tools, Holtz illuminated outstanding resources such as Delicious, Paper.Li, ScoopIt, Mashable, Marketing Over Coffee and Storify.  And audio podcasts like Marketing Over Coffee and FIR allow you to multi-task and take a break from a screen. While you do not need to become an expert in all of these tools, it is very important to understand how content curation is integral to creating a filter for information overload.  (Look for the chapter to start using Storify…this was one of my favorite tools presented besides Marketing Over Coffee…and of course, FIR!)

Content curation was one of the big takeaways of the event and how trusted guides in content curation have evolved in media. Yet Shel spoke about the absolute necessity of context with content curation. Just like an art curator, it’s not enough to add pictures and artwork to a collection, there must be a context of what and why content is being added to a social media or media platform.  Shel supports the notion there’s no such thing as information overload, yet there is a serious problem with organizations and sometimes communicators not using enough filters to mine information.

Shel discussed two emerging career positions: community liaison and content strategist.  Within the community liaison role, someone has to have eyes and ears on the community surrounding an organization to achieve true community engagement.  A content strategist supports Shel’s concept that these days every company is a media company, whether the company chooses to be or not.  The difference between a content strategist and a traditional PR strategist is the content strategist focuses on content that is not pitched, yet still engages.  No corporate agenda pushing!

Interesting tidbits…Tumblr blogging tool has surpassed WordPress now. And GooglePlus is just terrific for getting answers to questions very quickly.  Christopher Swan pointed out…getting answers to Google Plus in general!  Christopher is part of the experienced trendy tool intelligentsia…with his “voice of reason” behind it all.  (Listen to Christopher on the video wrap-up of the event.)

On the subject of blocking employees from using social media on the job, the idea that just Millenials use social media is statistically wrong.  Age group 35-55 within companies using social media has created a flat statistic from even a few years ago.  It is crucial that employees have access to social media as studies have shown increased productivity.  88% of employees check social networks as a break between tasks, resetting concentration to do more work, not less work!

The evening wrapped up with a Whole Foods gift card to Shel for coming out to the chapter after a presentation same day to the IABC-USC Student Chapter.  Chapter President Paula Cassin also welcomed past chapter presidents who each told a funny or philanthropic anecdote while they were in office.

The conversation continued with Shel and well attended “After Dark” post-event socializing at “Bar Celona” for empanadas, Sangria, coffee, and connected conversations.  Shel pointed out how the face-to-face “After Dark” events are as important to communicators and the chapter as keeping up with contacts through social media connections. We appreciated Shel’s sentiments that IABC in general has a warm tone throughout its membership base.

Tremendous thanks to Shel Holtz, Christopher Swan, Avery Dennison, Christopher Cabrera who played escort to Holtz navigating Los Angeles chapter events and logistics while also moderating the evening’s event, and Dana Edler and Cheryl Farrell in welcoming/checking-in welcoming members. Special thanks to Adam Kevorkian, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes on important meeting logistics (like food!) We couldn’t have done it without him.