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

Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:00

"Crashing" engagement numbers

None of our Fortune 500 clients pays us to manage Facebook feeds. We're too far down the glamor-pole for that, although Anne-Christine says her selfie is as hipster and casually cool as those of the faux social-media experts they employ.

Facebook isn't a fit with most of our mid-markets, for reasons too interesting to briefly enumerate here.

But we're seldom paid by the countless small businesses who approach us for our infamously free advice. To date, we've staunchly advocated some sort of Facebook presence for them, fan-gated or not. Facebook's free, after all, and rewards creativity and sincerity. 

All this probably will change soon. Facebook, as it seeks to further monetize its business, soon will slash organic page reach. If you're a small business, those 3,000 likes you've struggled to build are worthess. Your posts will only reach 20 or so customers (if you're lucky). 

Unless you get your checkbook out. 

We're not at all sorry for big brands, hilariously descibed by ValleyWag as "constructed succubi meant to look and feel familiar and friendly but really just advertise and annoy us."

Nike can get its checkbook out.

The smaller businesses, the ones we coddle through thick and thin, probably should consider getting theirs out, too. Instead of wasting hard-earned cash on nebulous Facebook counts, we recommend they pay us to manage their online presence with professional websites whose customizable features and plug-ins earn them the ranking they deserve.

By starting from scratch instead of trying to make tired old WordPress sites work, we can capture entrepreneurial passion and keep content - the current, reigning King of Google SEO - fresh and relevant.

So, no tears over Facebook. Presence there never hurt but now, it won't help. Stick to the things you can control: Website, blog and Yelp.



Monday, 17 March 2014 12:27

Sponsored content, take note

Explanatory journalism - characterized those intriguing, slightly colloquial pieces that informally explain things to the media-weary - is back in vogue. We write 'sponsored content' that's like this for some of our clients.

Sponsored content appears on web pages. It deliberately attempts to blur the line between 'editorial' and 'advertising.' It's also strategic and compelling, when thoughtfully incorporated into a campaign that involves media, consumers and thought-leaders.

Big PR firms like Edelman have created entire divisions devoted to developing this pay-for-play PR. Why? Readers share sponsored content more than regular editorial pieces.

LieberJohnson's done this since 1988. We write PR pieces that read like newspaper and magazine articles and send them off to trades and online websites that need to fill space, 24/7. It's ridiculously fun and easy. Read more, then let us do some strategizing for your content.

Monday, 17 March 2014 12:18

Fun websites

PR, marketing and web development are inextricably linked. Pay attention to your online presence! And yes, we can build these sites for you.

Monday, 17 March 2014 11:15

PR and Web for Eagle Ford

This blog item is dedicated to the hardworking small businesses south of our San Antonio office - the service providers in the Eagle Ford shale.

Why? You're the nimble ones struggling to grow while exceeding incredible customer demands for your time and services. You're not sitting in a high-rise, comfortably removed from the right ways and wrong ways of doing things, protected from the dust and heat by procurement contracts and investor relations consultants.

Our staff has crawled over driling rigs in Burgos Basin, flown offshore to drilling platforms, walked through gas-processing plants and spent hours in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama supporting drilling-and-production operations.

We know what it takes to get oil-and-gas out of the ground. Lieberjohnson is committed to helping you convey your services, mission and vision to drilling companies that need your services. We can build you a website, write content/copy for your pages, create marketing collateral and develop a PR campaign that gets you in front of your customers.


Friday, 14 March 2014 20:27

Media placement

Don't be fooled by media. Conservative estimates credit public relations types with "planting" up to 75 percent of all story ideas in reporters' hive minds.

Here's a great example of how this works, served up today by our hometown

On March 9, online storage marketplace "blogs" or posts a carefully worded, excellent piece about America's top 15 apartment boom towns. Houston's #3 on the list.

Writer Elizabeth Whalen builds credibility for her "angle" by quoting sources with the National Apartment Association and Urban Land Institute.

An expert ramps up millennial interest with this: "Housing prices are going to go up, and credit remains tight."

Great quote for a the majority of the under-40 population priced- and credited-out of the housing market. Can't buy a home? Rent a lifestyle! can help you stash stuff meanwhile.

The PR groundwork carefully prepared ... 1. tells the PR firm that came up with the whole self-serving idea to sell it to the media or 2. unleashes one of its own fun-ish young media pros or editorial staffers on media in markets mentioned in the press release. or 3. understands the value of SEO content-management and waits for the Chron to call.

Not. It's doubtful the Chron's real estate reporters simply peruse their favorite corporate websites to find story ideas like this. Or, idly Google 'real estate trends.' They were PITCHED by in one form or another. 

Next, said visits's awesome, hipster-themed website - which boasts about disrupting the traditional self-storage industry - and oozes the kind of credible transparency media craves. What's not to love about an editorial team whose marketing chick's "favorite movie is The Big Lebowski, favorite color is black, favorite food is cheese, and favorite band is the Pixies?" BTW, "she aspires to make self-storage fun and to make her dog and cat cuddle each other."

Hello, target demographic!

Your company may not be as cool, but you, too, can play the same game and end up with a homepage hyperlink in the online forum of your choice. 

Website>Message>Media. Look like a player and talk like one. We can redesign and write your way right into your stakeholders' hearts.

Friday, 14 March 2014 13:04

HONY branding

He may not have been "on-message" when queried by the world-famous Humans of New York but this lucky small-business owner branded himself quite nicely!

Friday, 14 March 2014 12:46


Here's another creative example of how hashtags brand everything!

Friday, 14 March 2014 12:15

Reporters don't get it

How many times have I heard a client complain reporters don't "get" their business.

That could soon change. Journalism's evolving rapidly, as it must, in this day and age of infographics, social media and failed business models.

Up until now, the problem for journalists (and people like me) has been truly understanding the math and science behind stories. Very few journalists are celebrated for their keen insight into statistics or real-time drilling techniques.

Journalism schools think they may have the answer: Collaboration between techies and writers. Teresa Jolley reports.

Be careful what you wish for!

Friday, 14 March 2014 12:01

"So my plane just crashed."

Once again, Twitter trumps corporate and even media.

A passenger on the U.S. Airways flight that 'nosedived' in Philadelphia tweeted "So my plane just crashed," then shared a twitpic and even a selfie.

Sadly or gladly, depending on your perspective, this kind of citizen journalism isn't new.

It should, however, serve to remind companies the best way to get a story across is to tweet and blog and post proactively. 

Friday, 14 March 2014 11:30

Keyboard strikes back!

Like any successful business, we've rebranded ourselves over the years.

LieberJohnson opened for business in 1985. Long before it was the popular thing to do, we started out of a spare bedroom "home office," bought a brand new desktop publishing program, and began conceptualizing, writing, designing and producing up to six corporate newsletters a month.

For the fun of it, we wrote entire "advertorial" sections for major metropolitan newspapers, deliberately blurring the line between editorial and advertising ("sponsored content" in today's parlance).

When summonsed, minion Stephanie Johnson even served time inside corporate walls as a media relations advisor and corporate communications specialist. Frequently, we worked in JIC's as PIO's (that's crisis communications, for the uninitiated), writing if-asked statements for media.

With the advent of eternally boring investor-relations firms, the demand for press releases slackened briefly as the energy industry decided it only needed to communicate with investors. So we morphed again, this time into the premier supplier of verbiage for marketing collateral and intranets.

Now, with a vengeance, copy is back! The word is back in, thanks in large part to Google's new rule: Thou shalt not post mind-numbingly, indescribably vapid and probably cut-and-pasted content on your website and be rewarded!


So we're back to our very core competency - getting clients noticed with content that tells stories. Writing press releases that contain (the appearance of, anyway) news.