Q&A: Vikki Chowney, editor, Reputation Online

In our latest speaker Q&A we hear from Vikki Chowney, editor of Reputation Online. Vikki also contributes to The Really Mobile Project and blogs at

Before joining Centaur Media as editor and community manager of Reputation Online, she worked as a freelancer, with recent clients including Talk Talk, Big Yellow Self Storage and WCAFI (World Clean Air Forest Initiative), as well as Contagious Magazine.

Before making a move into journalism, Vikki worked in PR, including stints with Six Degrees and Clarity Public Relations.

Vikki will be taking part in our panel discussion on Building online buzz: Case studies and advice on how to promote your title’s brand online and how to build buzz around online stories and campaigns.

Follow this link to see the full agenda.

Click here to purchase tickets for news:rewired – the nouveau niche.

Can you tell us a bit about your site, Reputation Online?

Reputation Online is part of the new media age family, set up eight months ago to look at the ways brands and businesses manage their digital presences. The site combines editorial insight with user-generated articles from our community, and we cover both the agency world as well as in-house teams. Naturally, many of our readers sit within communications or marketing, but as online reputation management becomes more prominent, HR, customer services and sales are also getting involved.

Why did you decide to move from PR into blogging and journalism?

I started working in PR because I loved writing. Then, after blogging about technology outside of work and getting involved in the G20 Voice project (which took 50 bloggers from around the world into the G20 London Summit with equal accreditation to traditional media) – I realised that journalism was where my heart really wanted to be.

Should journalists and aspiring journalists in 2010 be thinking about creating a brand around themselves?

Now more than ever, people want – and expect – to see the human side of brands. For a business, this means a person (or sometimes many people) stepping forward to talk about the company – providing fans or customers with a face to connect with. It’s a more natural way to build relationships.

Journalists can learn a lot from this. It’s not necessarily about creating a brand, but becoming more accessible. Of course you don’t have to reveal all – there’s an element of common sense to using the web to network – but a reader can relate to a writer better if they understand the way their mind works a little better. I always use Paul Carr as an example of this. His readers know how he thinks because he injects his personality into his tweets and his own blog, he’s honest about his outlook on the world so people know what they’re going to get. Those that like his style, flock to wherever he’s writing. You have to consider how valuable loyalty is to a journalist.

What are some of the most useful tools for creating online buzz?

There’s a reason there’s so much hype about social media in the press every day. Sometimes it’s difficult to pick out what’s most useful, but what’s for sure is that free tools like Twitter and Facebook really can help you build a strong network. With Twitter, you get out what you put in. If you spend some time talking to people, working out who’s going to be of interest and who to connect with, you’ll reap the rewards eventually. It’s not just about publishing any more, you can’t broadcast. It has to be two-way. Tools like AddThis allow easier sharing, and that’s often half the battle. We’re all lazy beings, so if you create the option for someone to click once and feed your story to their own social networks, it’ll work well.

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