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:

About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email

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