A few weeks ago John Bell, managing director of our Digital Influence practice, made the case for every company to have a video content strategy. I agree (he’s breathing easy now) but it occurs to me that far too many companies don’t have any sort of content strategy to begin with.
Most try to coordinate messages and spend a great deal of time worrying about the content on their Web site – but that’s as far as it generally goes. Furthermore, the larger a company gets the less able it is to ensure that even this relatively small amount of content is in any way coordinated. Quality control is easily sacrificed.
For most of my career this wasn’t much of a problem. Companies had limited opportunities to place content anyway, so why worry about it? Today, however, there’s an almost moral (and certainly a business) imperative for clients to produce more and more content. The media is increasingly more accepting of it (more fuel to drive Web site traffic and increase ad revenue), and self-publishing is, of course, a breeze.
Still most companies struggle because the executives and in-house experts counted on to be the sources of content have – who knew – regular full-time jobs that – shock – do not include writing (or even reviewing) articles and blog posts, recording audio or video commentary and so on.
One solution may be to recognize that ongoing content development is a business priority and create a content department responsible for devising a company-wide content strategy and shepherding all content to completion.
Of course creating and staffing a department full of twitchy creative types and content queens isn’t likely to be any company’s idea of a business priority – but the companies that get this right will reap the benefit.
And if they can’t do it, well there are plenty of PR firms – see our shiny new copywriters – that can help them.
For the past couple of years I haven’t been in a client meeting or industry event where “social media” isn’t mentioned. Forget “mention”: it has been at the core of the discussion. But in all these conversations, what hasn’t been covered is how traditional media, in particular tech press, is evolving, changing, adapting; and what this means for “traditional” tech PR professionals. Publishers like CMP (or better the former CMP) and IDG are changing. They have been “socialized”.
From now on, when I talk to a client or colleague, I’d like to make a distinction between social media and socialized media.
Of course I believe they are both very important, but they are critically different. And since all the attention has been focused on the first one, in this post I want to share some initial thoughts on the latter:
So what’s the net-net? As PR practitioners we are in front a very complex ecosystem, with a lot of moving parts. I think knowing and understanding the different motivations of all the players (the blogger, the journalist, the publisher, the editor) will make us better counselors and strategists.
I’ve worked with a lot of tech start-ups; many had ill-defined paths to revenue. Some had no path at all. I share Om Malik’s skepticism (see here and here) towards the soundness of all that VC money deposited in the bank accounts of developers of “Widgets, Facebook Applications, OpenSocial Web 2.0 gee gaws.”
Of course, a lot of start-ups require a large amount of capital to fund product development, marketing, etc. But developers of these ‘demi-apps’ don’t necessarily need much funding to get going or thrive. Furthermore, social networking facilitates a level of user engagement that – to me anyway – presents a much more tantalizing opportunity for funding than VCs.
See this article in the June issue of The Atlantic about Senator Obama’s “Amazing Money Machine.” With the passion that some users have for widgets, and with the technology to build and leverage strong networks of like-minded people, doesn’t it make more sense for these companies to try to tap into their users for funding?
There’s been a lot of moaning and groaning about Twitter outages recently (not a widget I know, but bear with me). From what I see on CrunchBase the company has raised $5.4 million. With their user base, however, and the obvious passion that user base has for the service, maybe the ‘Obama money machine’ might help solve the problems.
To be sure, tech start-ups don’t necessarily have the appeal of a candidate for the presidency of the United States, but who says they need to raise $50 million a month?
I am personally extremely excited to start this blog not only because it will be a platform to share our thinking and engage in conversations with a broader community but because it will be really broad. In fact we have contributors from our Tech Practice from all around the world: from San Francisco to Singapore, from London to Sydney, we have people coming together with a common, global passion. Not, it’s not soccer. OK. It is soccer. But it is, mainly, Hi-Tech PR.
In this venue we will share what we see in the world of technology PR and beyond. We will talk about trends, ideas, things we stumbled upon, questions we might not have an answer for (and maybe you can help us.). Experiences of working with colleagues from other practices and disciplines. What’s changing and happening in the different markets: locally, regionally or globally.
We didn’t want to have the point of view of just a few senior PR professionals. So I am particularly thrilled to have members at every level be contributors. Fresh air. A different perspective. Young. Old. Experienced. Opinionated. Thoughtful.
We want to make it easy to have conversations with our clients, competitors, industry leaders, students, fellow bloggers and not just among ourselves. We would love to see a lot of content, ideas and participation.
Join the conversation. Throw us a Tech PR Nibble!
David Carlson: Social Media and Traditional PR