The second printing of best selling author David Meerman Scott’s New Rules of Marketing and PR demonstrates A) these rules work and B) it’s OK to learn as we go. In this conversation with David, we discover that another one of the rules is ideas are fluid and when even two people focus on a topic, preconceived notions can change, and concepts can germinate into the next great case study.
The New Rules of Marketing and PR include participating in the communities with which you do business, not talking at them. Don’t worry we’ll put this in a nice list for retweeting and SEO purposes. The label David applied to this concept is “Brand Journalism” and it’s a hybrid of what trade journalists and thoughtful marketers have tried to do in the nineties. The key here is for companies to consider information that has news value and not just company/shareholder value. Information about the latest widget or big name customer being in the latter category and a more thorough conversation about issues that include technological advances, government regulation, or the ways society is changing to interact with products being in the former category. When a company’s perspective of what’s news expands, so does their number of mentions and conversations. Public relations practitioners can and should expand their thinking of news value, review the online discussions and contribute where appropriate. Not just in news release form, but in the infinite ways their creativity will take them, because any format, any locale, and any audience is now affordable and reachable.
David’s Brand Journalism idea may result in an actual job position I call the “embedded corporate journalist”, a paraphrase from the journalist embedded with military units in the Iraq War. This leads to understanding a situation more thoroughly so you can report it with perhaps greater sensitivity and depth. This is of greatest benefit if the entity being reported on seeks its audience to have greater understanding of its rationale rather than an entity that believes PR and news is a broadcast.
David’s work is insightful and I trust our conversation in this episode of the Marketing Edge is for you. Here is my take on ways to consider the New Rules of Marketing and PR
1) Who Cares? – Find out who cares about your stuff, not just mentions of your brand (that’s so narrow) but things that comprise the universe in which your company operates.
2) Do You Care? – Consider whether your entity really cares about opinions outside of the organization? Seems like a simple question, however, your lip service radar needs to be tuned in with reality here. If they are not, the New Rules of Marketing and PR will read like a novel, not a guide to your success.
3) Can We Try? – Analysis paralysis is a function of group think. We are not landing planes or experimenting with a deadly virus. We are having a conversation and no one will be injured. The prerequisites then are thoughtful, sensitive to community, readily engage comments, and be prepared to acknowledge a short coming. The rest will work itself out.
Practicing What We Preach
On a similar note, I will be covering South by Southwest this week and next on these pages. It’s a similar note because Verizon Wireless is sponsoring the trip. We will feature stories about social media innovators from the Midwest who are attending SxSw. We’ll focus on stories that I believe are hot topics for 2010, mobile applications, location based services, and the mobile web space. We are also doing some fun events and playing with neat gadgets during the week. I am road tripping to Austin with Social Media Breakfast Minneapolis/St. Paul founder Rick Mahn. His trip is sponsored by Tungle the web-based scheduling platform. We’ll be using a variety of Verizon mobile devices including the Droid, HTC Droid Eris, Palm Pre Plus and Palm Pixi Plus, the Motorola DEVOUR with MOTOBLUR and tap into the Verizon Mifi when no wireless is around.
I suggest this project has the elements of the type of interaction the New Rules of Marketing and PR says are what is needed to engage communities.