Offline Media Translates Into Online Buzz

Watching Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on “60 Minutes” reminded me there is still a place for old school media in the world of search marketing and online PR strategies.

Facebook used “60 Minutes” to announce the unveiling of the social network’s new look and feel during an up-close-and-personal interview with Zuckerberg last night. A great example of new media blending old school media. If it weren’t for the unofficial Facebook blog, I might not have found out about the interview in time since I hardly watch TV. I also discovered in the process that “60 Minutes” is crawling out of the dark ages and now has a Facebook page, YouTube channel, and an iPad app.

While it might not have been the exclusive “60 Minutes” planned (the story seemed to be leaked earlier before the segment aired), the Facebook PR message was still delivered to a captive audience of about 17.7 million viewers from America’s number one news source.

Using one of the most trusted and successful TV news shows like “60 Minutes” to announce news impacting more than half a billion online Facebook users put the search and social marketing industry in a new limelight.

Zuckerberg’s interview gave Facebook a PR opportunity to position, reposition, and clear the air on some hot topics.

He played “nice” in his interview and as a result, left behind some good PR lessons other companies can use:

  1. Announce company news. Facebook used the “60 Minutes” story as a way to unveil the site’s new redesigned profile page.
  2. Discuss sensitive topics. Such as Facebook did with its ongoing privacy issues.
  3. Set the record straight. Zuckerberg confidently discussed the highly controversial movie “The Social Network.”
  4. Readdress old messages from media. Columnist Kara Swisher coined the name for Zuckerberg as “Toddler CEO” a few years back but renamed him “Prodigy CEO” in the “60 Minutes” interview.
  5. Gain back some credibility. Zuckerberg answered some tough questions without breaking a sweat.
  6. Show a personal side. The 26-year-old Facebook founder talked about his girlfriend, adding a new dimension not portrayed in the movie or past interviews.
  7. Talk about the competition. When asked: Is Facebook the new Google? Zuckerberg played it cool, glossing over the fact that people spent more time this year on Facebook than Google and more than 10 percent of Facebook’s team are former Google employees.
  8. Reach new audiences with a trusted media source. Aligning a social media icon like Facebook and a media brand like “60 Minutes” gives new insight and credibility to old school consumers (like the ones who say: “Facebook is not for me”).

The Facebook “60 Minutes” PR story didn’t end at the close of the show. The interview can be found posted on CBS.com among dozens of other news websites posting copies of the interview with commentary. As of this morning, just 12 hours after the interview aired, a search on “Mark Zuckerberg” resulted in about 744 related news stories on page one of Google. So offline media translated into online buzz. Old school media is giving online PR and social media more opportunities than ever with measurable results.