Thursday, January 22, 2009

Walking the walk

Hello dear reader. I need to warn you that if you do not work in PR/marketing or the media then you may find this post of limited interest. Actually - if you DO work in those sectors you may still find it dull, so don't get your hopes up.

I am reading an average of four articles/blog posts a day which, to a greater or lesser degree, all discuss the conundrum of marketing in a new media world. Four articles, because I ignore about a million others.

What is beginning to infuritate me is that while many of these articles are well considered and seem to be bursting with sage advice, none of them actually *tell* you anything.

Here is the gist: We are in a new media world where bob and his blog can have as much impact on your business as Rupert at The Australian/Daily Mirror. Word-of-mouth is king. For businesses to succeed in this new landscape they need cleverly adapted marketing.

Got it. Yes.

The trouble is this is where the wise words stop. I read one blog post today from an industry leader down here in Oz where one of the handy tips was:

"3. Engage with communities
Word-of-mouth has never been more powerful, as a means of awareness and endorsement -- or as a means for bad news to spread. By engaging with communities of relevant stakeholders and customers, you'll be better placed to encourage the positive -- and address the negatives if the worst comes to the worst."

True indeed, good man.... but HOW?

I am beginning to think that the whole thing is like the Emperor's New Clothes. Everyone talks about it, but noone is actually doing it. Noone can give engaging examples - certainly not measurable ones.

Maybe I am reading the wrong articles, but is anyone walking the walk as well as they are talking the talk?


pollyemj said...

I agree to an extent. But I also think that engaging with communities etc is what good PR practitioners and marketing professionals have always sought to do. I really object to the people that pretend that online and social media are some kind of secret dark art that only so-called experts can do. That's total codswallop! Any communicator worth a pinch of s*** has to be able to communicate with a variety of audiences across a variety of media. And isnt part of the social revolution the point that 'anyone' can do it? Everyone can have a blog, an opinion, a shop, you name it. So if you're interested just start talking. You'll soon learn what works and what doesnt. And frankly if you havent tried it yourself, no one is going to buy it from you! But I think that's enough of a rant for now...

Emily Wearmouth said...

I agree pollyemj.

I have to suppress a giggle everytime I hear a non-blogger, non-twitter user with no Facebook profile talking about social media engagement.

While this isn't the reserve of Gen Y graduates, old school PR pros don't help themselves sometimes.

Jonathan Nguyen said...

I suppose the problem is twofold.

1. We bill time for the indepth how. It's time consuming and there's no real answers that could just generally be considered a rule. For example, you can't just say - "Get onto twitter" because what if twitter is not appropriate for your business?

2. People get bored. In this age of information grazing people want short pieces. I've invested time into writing long considered pieces before but no one gets to the end of them. They want it short and sharp. I've taken to breaking topics up into smaller postings and then at some point tying them all together.

Thanks for you comments btw, I hadn't discovered your blog before. I have now. ;)

Cathy said...

Agree entirely with Polly. Why is engaging with online and social media perceived as a dark art that PR people can't do? That's rubbish.

Take one element of it - influencing bloggers. Social media experts will tell you that PR companies regularly make idiots of themselves by sending a generic PR pitch to a big list of bloggers and expecting them to write about their client. Well, yes. But that's not exactly surprising is it?

Send a generic PR pitch to a big list of journalists and you'll get the same result.

Here's what you do. You pick your blog target - you make sure it's the right target for your client. And you read it. You comment on other posts, you get interested in what the blogger is saying. You build a relationship with them. Then, IF they're interested in your company, they might write about it.

Same as you do with journalists, right?

Todd Van Hoosear said...

Cathy's comment reminds me of something I heard once regarding blogger relations and bloggers vs. journalists: "Bloggers are simply journalists without editors."

Editors in this case that would've probably struck the writer's rant about the latest incompetent PR contact s/he had to deal with.

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