Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie Johnson

These are my thoughts about online marketing and industry practices, both good and bad, to help you understand the importance of controlling your image in today’s media-rich online environment.

You can also find me on

Tuesday, 01 April 2014 00:00

PR owns it

Competitor's CEO Peyman Nilfourosh nails it:

"I think right now there is a lot of conversation about who should own content marketing and native advertising. PR pros should own it because they are out there generating the trusted content and third-party coverage people are looking for, and they are responsible for establishing that baseline foundation of trust," he said. "[PR pros] know the story that needs to be told for the branded content to continue the conversation and continue to educate and nurture potential customers."

Tuesday, 01 April 2014 00:00

Your 'Arabian' Twitter

A Politico reporter with limited interest in social-media engagement hit the Twitter jackpot last week.

Flying on Air Force One with U.S. President Barack Obama, she decided to snap a few iPhone shots during a "pool stop" in Saudi Arabia with ailing, 89-year-old King Abudullah. She posted the images to her Twitter account.

In a piece titled "My Arabian Night: How an Obama pool stop went viral," she describes the media firestorm and subsequent reaction from Saudis with little information about their ruler or his behind-the-scenes llifestyle.

Here's the media reaction to her unwitting images, courtesy of

If you're reading this, chances are you'll never fly on Air Force One and take serendipitous iPhone photos.

But you can learn a valuable lesson on the importance of perceived spontaneity on Twitter. Most businesses posting on Twitter rely on a few, disingenuous words to reach "followers."

Images, in popular perception, never lie even when PhotoShopped. They're credibly transparent, as we say at LieberJohnson. Photos pass a smell test with all stakeholders, including and especially media.

Try staging a few "casuals" that look newsy the next time you're looking for someting to Tweet. Forget the grip-n-grins. We're talking about you telling a compelling story by documenting an everyday event that walks your messaging talk: You at a safety meeting for a drilling operation, you talking to animated community members, you discussing expansion plans with a local farmer, you learning something new at a tradeshow.

Show something about yourself on Twitter! Don't forget - the next time you have an "incident" or unexpected blip on the media radar screen, reporters and editors will find your feed. They need easy, free and unlimited access to credible images. Serve up some positive ones. Save them the trouble of a Google search you can't control.


Tuesday, 01 April 2014 00:00

Oh so funny

Saturday, 29 March 2014 00:00

The new journalism?

This from - another look at where 'paid' content is headed. Disturbingly, it appears journalists soon could be paid 'per click.' We're not interested in the intricacies of content curation or original copy (Upworthy v. Buzzfeed) but in what it means for companies at-risk for negative media. Writers paid by the click are immediately incented to sensationalize.

Wither journalism?

Meanwhile, great news for PR types! Flirty headlines and intriguing ledes now rewarded.

Friday, 28 March 2014 00:00

Native PR

Years ago, LieberJohnson was one of the Houston Chronicle's premier providers of "advertorial" content for special sections. An advertorial looks like a news story, reads like a news story (at least ours did) but is really paid content. We fondly recall one Friday when an editor called to see if we could cough up five stories about casinos - by Monday. Yes, the special section was about gambling. No, we did not have time to take the casinos up on their generous, generous offers of a weekend, all-expenses-paid gambling binge in Lake Charles.

But we digress!

In the hurlyburly world of today's Internet, advertorials are better-known as "native advertising." 

As Pew Research's Journalism Project discussed March 26: "In digital news, the overlap between public relations and news...became even more pronounced. One of the greatest areas of revenue experimentation now involves website content that is paid for by commercial advertisers - but often written by journalists on staff - and placed on a news publishers' page in a way that sometimes makes it indistinguishable from a news story."

The problem with this model is that it relies on the quality of the news group's "journalists on staff." Journalists aren't the best with messaging aka "spin." Nor are they necessarily able to ferret out the best "angle" from a client's perspective.

Like other agencies, we've created a content-management division to generate pay-for-play articles for clients who want messages that reverberate seamlessly between editorial and advertorial. The great thing about PR practicioners like those at LieberJohnson is we came of age in journalism school before morphing into corporate PR. We've worked both sides of the fence and marry the best of editorial skills with marketing expertise to create stories that pass readers' smell test.

State of the Media 2014 also provides an unbiased, timely snapshot (screen grab?!) of current media trends. It's no secret major newspapers, trades and digital publications aren't effective at monetizing their online assets.

You want to grab media attention? Journalism needs you know. And they're not picky.

Remember the last time you read an article online and were attracted to that intriguing headline/link to the right of your piece? Chances are, your interest was piqued by an article written by somebody just like us . . .

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 00:00

In other words...

We've said this since 1985, albeit in a different fashion: Don't pander to your customers, stakeholders or employees! 

Saturday, 22 March 2014 00:00

Just my type!

Writers love their fonts almost as much as their words. This new site will help you pair typefaces.

Warning: As addictive as Facebook.

Friday, 21 March 2014 00:00

Quick tips for integrating with social

Don't read too much into the early demise of Google's Wildfire platform.

Social-media marketing is still huge - and it works.

PR Daily offers these tips for building integrated campaigns using social media. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:00

Social spin

A blog post, in which my favorite gossip columnist explains how celebrities bypass photo agencies by using social media to control their image. Business, try to be a little more aggressive with your Instagram accounts! There's more than one way to incorporate accountability into a PR plan.

Explains LaineyGossip: "Obviously social media allows for a lot of control and little aggravation: when/how the photos are taken, edits, and the ability to choose which shots are posted, all of that is left up to the subject."

Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:00

Twitter news unfolds on Twitter

A Twitter exec tries to 'splain comments she made at Monday's Newspaper Association of America mediaXchange 2014. A great example of #damagecontrol and #watchhowyouspin. There's real news embedded in those tweets, too!