Beyond PR

Jan 24, 2011

We’re all publishers now.

David Meerman Scott and Sarah Skerik on a panel at the PR Newswire global conference. Photo: Victoria Harres

One of the catch phases we’re hearing from social media mavens, blogging gurus and content marketing pros is, “We’re all publishers now.”  And it’s true – channels abound via which messages might be delivered and stories told, from content syndication to blogging and multimedia storytelling.  Demand for content online is high. And, at the same time, many traditional media organizations have had to slash newsroom staff – and coverage.

However, in order to step neatly into this void and fill information gaps successfully with their own messaging, brands need to keep a few imperatives in mind.

  • Credibility is job one. Building credibility is crucial – without it, one can publish, but chances are good your content won’t be read, much less shared in networks.  Credibility requires a brand to be scrupulously honest, transparent and human in its communications.
  • Say what your audiences wants to hear – not what you want to say.  As David Meerman Scott, author of the newly-released book Real Time Marketing & PR noted in his presentation to PR Newswire last week, “No one cares about your product, except you.”  We have to take a page from the professional media playbooks here, and produce content that a will perform the equivalent of “selling papers” which means writing specifically with readers in mind.
  • Multiple networks, multiple approaches to content. While one needn’t re-create the wheel when it’s time to publish, it’s important to avoid posting identical content to all networks.  You can “atomize” content, breaking it into pieces, and seed networks: e.g. post photos to Flickr, videos to channels like YouTube, interesting abstracts to FaceBook, Tweet pithy quotes, and post the full content to your blog.  But woodenly plastering the same content on all your various ‘walls’ isn’t a good idea.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and Junta42 Marketing, joined David, Tom Stein and me on a panel at PR Newswire’s meeting last week, during which David suggested that brands need to thing beyond simply publishing, and think instead about running de facto news services. Joe ran with the news service concept in a blog post last Friday, in which he offers a cheat sheet for getting started, discussing the need to put systems into place – such as setting a content strategy, appointing a content officer, and getting exec buy-in – while also looking to employees as a source of content.  Stoking the engines with fresh content is probably one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome, but turning employees into storytellers can help lighten that load.  Brands need to learn to publish successfully – doing so already is an important source of visibility.

Authored by Sarah Skerik, VP social media, PR Newswire

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