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Cedar Crest College Professor Writes Book on Public Relations through Social Media

Allentown, PA (August 17, 2009)--A few years back, Cedar Crest College Business Department Chair Gaetan Giannini was searching high and low for a public relations textbook tailored to marketing students, instead of communications or journalism students. After an extensive search that yielded no satisfactory option, it was the suggestion of a publisher that finally uncovered the solution.

giannini

"I went to book publishers and told them for two years that I needed this book, and finally one of them asked, ‘Why don't you write it?'" said Giannini, recalling the day his life got a whole lot busier. "I had a great deal of notes from previous classes to draw on, so I decided to take his advice and do it."

Giannini wrote the book proposal in 2006 and after extensive contact with a number of publishers who showed interest in the book, he signed a contract with textbook titan Prentice Hall in March of 2008. He spent the next 14 months writing the book titled, "Marketing Public Relations: A Marketer's Approach to Public Relations and Social Media," which was published in July.

"I really enjoy talking about marketing and social media, but it was a great challenge to maintain the discipline to just keep writing," he said. "There were so many deadlines and edits that there was always work to do but now that I've reached the finish line, it's quite exciting."

Giannini has an extensive marketing background, having worked for several years in sales and marketing for industrial instrumentation companies before landing at Cedar Crest College. In addition to writing a public relations book from a marketer's perspective, he reveled in the opportunity to write about the burgeoning world of social media, which he claims has been widely ignored by academics.

"Most of the textbooks that were written about Web 2.0 were written on the technical side. As far as I know, there is not one textbook out there at this point that covers this topic from a marketing perspective," he said. "What really made this is a great project is the fact that I've been writing about social media as it all has happened. Things have been changing so fast that what was considered ‘doing a good job' with social media on such sites as MySpace and LinkedIn two years ago is not necessarily doing a good job right now."

Giannini, who lives in Laurys Station, PA, defines social media in the book as "all sites where participants can produce, publish, control, critique, rank and interact with online content." He said most marketing professionals utilize today's popular social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, etc., but in many cases not very effectively.

"The key to getting the most out of social media is understanding how the message flows and what you need to do to manage the message," he said. "With traditional marketing and advertising, the marketer is in control of the message all the way to the eyes and ears of the consumer. With PR and social media, the marketer has to hand over the message to the media, bloggers, and the millions of people participating in social networks, and hope that the message reaches the consume in a way that will strengthen a brand and increase sales."

In the book, Giannini examines several examples of those who are successfully using the latest social media technologies, including Gary Vaynerchuk, a liquor store owner who founded Wine Library TV, a "shoot-from-the-hip" internet video podcast about wine that boasts nearly 100,000 views daily. Vaynerchuk connects with his audience through frank, honest wine talk to which people can relate.

"The world wants authenticity, and the Internet is real," Vaynerchuk says in the book. "People and businesses that leverage social media to follow their DNA (i.e. pursue their passions) will be the next Brad and Angelina and the next Oprah."

Another highlighted example of a company successfully leveraging social media technology is Dunkin' Donuts, which has created a sense of community through a Facebook page that boasts more than 825,000 "fans."

"With Facebook, we can share, listen, respond and educate-there is so much flexibility and opportunity to interact in a casual, authentic way," says David Tryder, manager of interactive and relationship marketing for Dunkin' Donuts, in the book.

In addition to social media, the book examines the use of other innovative public relations strategies that have proven successful. For example, Ben & Jerry's is renowned for its "socially responsible operations and lighthearted marketing," according to the book. Recently, Ben & Jerry's and its marketing company, TBA Global Events, implemented a "Ramdom Acts of Cone-Ness" campaign, during which Ben and Jerry's employees "showed up" in undisclosed locations in three major cities and distributed ice cream in support of the company's new waffle cone.

The effort proved highly successful, creating a healthy buzz that carried over to such media outlets as CNN, ESPN, national and local newspapers, and trade magazines.

While "Marketing Public Relations" is a textbook for mid-level marketing students-one which Giannini will use in his classes this fall and which will be available for general consumption for educational institutions by spring semester-he is quick to note that the plain-English content is perfect for any business or institution seeking strategies to promote its products and services to constituents.

Those who would like more information on the book can go to www.gianninimpr.com or www.mypearsonstore.com/bookstore/product.asp?isbn=0136082998.

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Last Updated: 8/17/09