The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall


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Nancy Marshall Communications PR agency Maine

Social Media Evolution: How It’s Changing Journalism

WCSH 6/ WLBZ 2 Social Media Coordinator, Brett Whitmarsh

Last month, we addressed the changing landscape of journalism with the integration of social media, and NEWS CENTER 6 Social Media Coordinator, Brett Whitmarsh says the entire Gannett team is striving to lead the way in this collaboration.

Whitmarsh says that originally they figured that social media users would see bits of the news unfold throughout the day, and then we would tie it all together for them in our broadcasts. However, he adds, “My news director took it one step further and took notice of the conversations online, and she realized we needed to be having those same conversations in the newsroom in order to deliver the news that our viewers were looking for.”

Whitmarsh started his career as a general news photographer in Albany, New York after attending Lyndon State College, but he really wanted to ‘come home’ to Maine and work for the WCSH 6 team. After applying for three different positions, he finally landed a job working for 207 and Bill Green’s Maine.

By late 2007/early 2008, Whitmarsh says that they were playing with social media, not fully realizing the direction it would soon go. He says, “It was a lot of fun, but wasn’t really a focus yet.” Within a year, he was attending Quinnipiac University to get his master’s degree in interactive communications while still working full-time on 207 and Bill Green’s Maine. “Those were the hardest two years—I saw all of these techniques that we should be doing as a newsroom with social media,” he says.

Whitmarsh adds that Gannett has been leading the way in social media efforts in journalism by making it a priority. Fresh from grad school and recognized for his passion for social media, Gannett offered Brett the position of social media coordinator.

If you’ve caught Brett in action, then you know that he isn’t kidding when he says that having social media is as common as having a phone, but that people are still confused on how to use it. The etiquette if you will. This is why he works with his news director to develop programs that help demonstrate how you can manage privacy and still be social.

A great early success story was the “social cam” app on Facebook. At first, people thought it asked too many personal questions and it was often confused with spam or phishing, so the NEWS CENTER team decided to break it down and explain how the app worked (you can shoot videos using multiple settings and filters, and then easily upload them via email, Facebook, YouTube and SMS).

The public is more aware of news as it happens than ever, and this engagement is a driving factor in developing programming. Brett says he spends a lot of time observing social media trends and seeing what viewers are talking about—if he notices misinformation being circulated, he uses it as an opportunity to address it. He likes to break down all the jargon and confusion in a way that anyone can understand.

Follow Brett on Twitter @BWhitmarsh

The greatest change in journalism in the ten years Brett has been with WCSH 6/WLBZ 2 has been the technology. Everything is digital, which means no more shooting or editing video on tape. Stories are written from anywhere, so long as there is an Internet connection. This has changed deadlines to “right now” instead of 5 or 6 o’clock. It truly is a 24-hour news cycle.

Whitmarsh says, “Your phone can now be a mobile newsroom. With that comes a whole new level of responsibility in upholding the ethics of journalism. While it is important to be first, it is more important to be right—that’s never changed. It’s so much easier to make a very public mistake.” He adds that expectations have changed for journalists and reporters but that, “Our NEWS CENTER team is incredible. These people are true news veterans.” He also suggests that you follow Pat Callaghan on Twitter because if you don’t then, “you are seriously missing out!”

You will also be seriously missing out if you don’t follow Brett on Twitter! You can connect with him @BWhitmarsh or check out all of his NEWS CENTER stories at

Using Google AdWords to Attract Customers to Your Business

Hi, Erika here!

You’re bored on a Friday night and looking for something to do when a friend suggests that you guys grab a bite to eat and go see a movie. You say, “Sure, but I want try something new.” You both agree on pizza, so you Google search local pizza place Augusta Maine and you get this:

Local businesses Whipper’s, College Carryout and Pizza Stone make up the top results of the search. Where would your business be?

Chances are, you’re going to pick one of the places on this page—and there is an even better chance that it will be one of the first three or four listings.

So, how do you make sure that your business is near the top?

A search engine marketing system, such as Google AdWords, certainly helps!

NMC Interactive Marketing Manager Matt Rideout has recently received his AdWords Certification through Google’s AdWords Certification Program. The certification required training in complex marketing systems along with multiple tests, and Rideout says, “The certification lets our customers know that we are fully taking advantage of everything the AdWords marketing channel has to offer. Ultimately, it shows our dedication to ensuring our clients receive the best online advertising possible from NMC.”

NMC Principal Nancy Marshall adds, “Matt’s Google AdWords Certification adds one more area of expertise we can offer to our clients that will help them connect their marketing messages with their target audiences.”

So how does Google AdWords work?

  • Keywords are the key to a successful campaign. Think like a potential customer—if they had never been to your business how might they find you?
    • Pizza place:  thin crust pizza Augusta Maine, pizza delivery Augusta Maine, pizza places in Augusta Maine open late, etc.
    • Gym:  gym open late in Augusta Maine, Augusta Maine gym with tanning, Augusta Maine trial gym membership, etc.
  • You decide how much you spend by setting a daily budget that is comfortable for you, and you can change it at any time—you are never locked into a contract.
  • You only pay for results (cost-per-click), which means that you never pay for your ad to be displayed, but only when someone actually clicks on your ad and is redirected to your site and/or landing page.
  • Relevance means more business—the more relevant your ads and keywords are to the demographic, the higher your Quality Score. The higher your Quality Score, the higher up your position will be on a Google search.

NMC Interactive Marketing Manager Matt Rideout, who recently received his Google AdWords Certification.

As mentioned earlier in this article, the higher your position on the search results page, the more likely you are to be chosen. The more people click on your ads, the lower your cost-per-click will be!

The team here at NMC sets up cost-per-click systems that allow us to measure return on investment (ROI) so that our customers know they are generating a profit with their campaigns.

Contact us today to see how the NMC team can help your business reach the coveted #1 search result spot with $100 in free AdWords advertising.

Strutting Their Stuff

Kennebec Valley Humane Society Executive Director, Hillary Roberts (image via KVHS Facebook page)

Community involvement is the key to success for any local nonprofit, and social media has played a major role in the continuing success of the Kennebec Valley Humane Society (KVHS). This week’s Monday Maine Maven and KVHS Executive Director Hillary Roberts says, “Educating the public on what we do and raising money toward our efforts is very important.”

Almost two years ago Roberts was featured on our blog and discussed how the social media movement was positively impacting their organization through donations of time, money and just about anything else they might need. Since that time social media, Facebook in particular, has only improved and with that so has the strategy KVHS uses to spread their message.

Currently, they have a team of seven people that handle the Facebook page and Roberts says, “We only have two rules: the posts must be positive and they must be accurate.” Their most popular posts are about their adoptable dogs, cats and other pets, and of course the happy-endings posts about past adoptions.

KVHS is currently accepting submissions for their annual Paws in the Park & Mutt Strut Art Contest. Winning submissions will be used as posters, t-shirts, and more to promote their Paws in the Park event.

Hillary says the power of Facebook for their organization is unbelievable stating, “It’s amazing to reach thousands of people to tell them about adoptable animals, or a special event we’re having through a single post. Even better? It’s free!” She adds, “We have even seen an increase in the distance people will travel to come and see a potential pet having seen them online first.”

This past Saturday, KVHS hosted a successful Strike Out Animal Abuse Bowl-a-thon at 1-7-10 in Augusta. On Saturday, May 18, 2013 they will be hosting their 20th Annual Paws in the Park & Mutt Strut—an all day family and pet-friendly event at Capitol Park. This year’s event will include the following activities:

  • Animal nutrition workshop with Dr. Judy Herman
  • The first annual KVHS Best in Show competition
  • Dog micro-chipping and nail trimming
  • Food vendors
  • K9 Police and Agility demonstrations
  • Raffles, contests, and more

Events like the Mutt Strut and Bowl-a-thon are essential to raising awareness to the various programs offered by the KVHS; such as their volunteer and foster programs, micro-chipping, animal nutrition and more.

Roberts has a lifelong love of animals and believes that regardless of how you find the next furry member of your family, the most important part of the decision should be based around research. She adds, “You have to consider your lifestyle and figure out what kind of pet will best fit that lifestyle, and if you do adopt, know that your new family member is grateful for the second chance!”

To learn more about the Mutt Strut check out the Facebook event page, or see their adoptable animals on the KVHS Facebook page, To speak to Hillary directly, you may email her,