How Do You Get Your Message Out There Now?
This past Wednesday, I got a call from a prospective client with an Austrian accent. He sounded posh, unlike the x-Governator. But he also sounded concerned. He asked if we do crisis management. I said “yes.”
Then he asked if we were a Crisis Management PR Firm. I said, “no.”
I said, “no,” not because we don’t do public relations. It’s because there is no more public to relate to.
This is Why You Can’t Reach Your Public
If you’re looking for a public relations firm / publicist in NYC LA or San Francisco that will get your name, your work, your mission, and your story out into the public, the stage is empty and the public has left the building.
Now, instead of a “public” to reach out to, there are splintered factions of cultures. They are all individual clusted nodes of subcultures with varying cross over. Think Venn.
We are still surprised at how many executives call us asking us to help them reach the public the same way their mentors did in the 1950s. In the 50′s, there were only two major TV networks. In the 50′s, each city only had two major news (via — tech pr firms) papers. One was always called the Times. The other was either called the Tribune or the Herald. Same went for radio. There were only ever two major mediums. One spoke out to the conservatives and the other to the liberals. So if your company positioning spoke to one of these two groups, all you had to do is create a newsworthy public interest story or good-will event, and find a PR person who was sleeping with the editor of your matching media outlet.
I was featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I got two phone calls. When I was featured in Engadget.com, I got one phone call — every minute.
Now, nobody watches TV. Nobody listens to the radio. Nobody reads the Times, the Tribune, or the Herald. If on some random Sunday you happen to catch someone breaking this rule, don’t worry. They aren’t watching, listening, or reading in even a remotely similar fashion (via clothing manufacturer) to the way their parents did. They are constantly broken free from the old media by the beeps, buzzes, and chimes of their iPhones and Androids.
Still, you might think getting into the press can get you a lot of visibility mileage. It can, but not by much. I was personally featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I got two phone calls.
When’s the last time you had a personal conversation with your favorite news (via — tech pr firms) anchor? Columnist? When’s the last time you felt like you and your favorite broadcaster were soulmates? When’s the last time you were able to leave a comment on your favorite TV Show?
They don’t bullhorn their audience. They have personal conversations with them.
With Youtube, Bloggers, Podcasters, Twitterererers, you can. They don’t bullhorn their audience. The have personal conversations with them. They don’t have focus groups. They don’t need them. They have intimate personal relationships with their audience. Most importantly, since their reach is in the thousands (not the millions), instead of breadth, they engender a depth of mutual identification that a one-size-fits-all mass media outlet will never be able to compete with. Turn one of these social media producers into your advocate and you’ll have a result conversion rate TV, Radio, and Print just can’t touch.
Think about it. When’s the last time you saw your kids turn off their iPhone because it distracted their TV viewing? The opposite happens all the time. Which medium is more influential?
Finally, to create a tidal wave of a response, all we have to do is influence a couple hundred of these social media producers to spread your message. This requires hurling heavy mega-ton bombs from 50,000 feet and deploying ground and pound infantry troops in parallel. What this means in tactical communications is basically this checklist:
1. Influence the Influential.
a. create a spreadsheet of the most Youtube, Twitter, Blog, and Google visible content producers.
b. sort by subscriber count and phone call each and every one of them.
c. ask them to write, video, mention, and otherwise blast you out to their entire base.
d. tell them that you’ll do the same for them. Ask them what message they want out there.
87% of your Twitter followers stopped using twitter.
2. Build Your Own Base.
a. item “d” above won’t have any power behind it if you don’t first have a large base yourself.
Build one. To do this, you need to know several basic facts. 34% of Twitter (details – Twitter Management and Social Media Management) users follow people back when followed. Youtube “subscribe button” conversion rates dropped 83% from the same time last year. Facebook (details – Facebook Social Media Marketing) only lets you add about 25 people a day and will suspend your account if you try to exceed that number. 87% of your Twitter followers stopped using twitter.
b. to build your base, you’ll need to deliver truly exceptional communication value.
Inspire, educate, entertain, and inspire some more. Then, you’ll earn the trust and appreciation of your audience base. To do this, you’ll need a crackerjack content production team.
c. develop blog (via blog management company) and Youtube content for your base.
Advertising is dead. There is no longer a demarcation between you, the advertiser and them, the content producer. You don’t need a million dollar Heidelberg Printing Press anymore. The barrier to entry is at zero. Why pay someone else to advertise on their realestate when you can just create your own real estate?
d. replicate bases.
contact content producers who already have a strong relationship with your target audience and ask them directly to recommend you. Ask them to ask their followers to follow you. Return the favor.
e. repeat. daily.
This is a process that gains momentum over time. We launched precisely this campaign for http://kontextur.com … in June, we reached out to hundreds of non competing furniture designers who had strong relationships with their base. One of our favorite: http://richbrilliantwilling.com and http://uhuru.com just emailed us last week. It took them a month for their first response. But now, it’s on. Find companies that already have relationships with your target. Ask to borrow that relationship.
3. Get yourself in the old media.
Yes, I said it. Get yourself some real ink. But keep your expectations at nil. You will not create many sales or converts. But there’s still a strong credibility factor in being able to tell a prospective partner or customer that you were mentioned in some big monolithic media outlet that everyone’s heard of.
trying to build your own base is like trying to build a lake collecting one dew drop from a leaf at a time. It does have to be done. But there are ways to accelerate this process dramatically. There is already a river of traffic coursing through Google under every single search term related to you. Get in Google. This can take some time but once you hit page one, you hit prime time. THIS is how we do it: http://journik.posterous.com/non-seo-how-to-get-to-page-one-of-google … after all, YOU found us in Google.
5. Marketing Partners
An educational firm approached a while back. While we must market directly to students. We must also influence their influencers. This is different than #1 above. What we’re saying here is that the people that influence students are their parents. And the people who influence the parents are their employers. While the players may be different, in this stage, the story line is exactly the same. [REDACTED: Proprietary Content] The value to them is that their employees will have more time to work appreciatively instead of trying to remember the Pythagorean Theorem for their kids.
Build a hard hitting blog (via blog management company) about modern parenting. Collect thousands of parents in your subscriber list. At the right time, pitch them all. They’ve already come to trust your thinking. They will trust you with their children’s education.
Then, reach out to HR bloggers and Parenting Bloggers and do #2d. Repeat.
To talk about your marketing vision, call 310 598 1606 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BONUS: Quantum Accelerators
This is a full scale pavement pounding campaign. But there are huge accelerators. When there was a fresh new disruptive technology like Google, all you had to do is show up on page one of Google and you were home free. Same with Youtube. I was one of the first Youtube users. I have 35,000 subscribers to show for it. I have 5,000 Facebook friends in my personal account. This is also because I was one of the first Facebook (details – Facebook Social Media Marketing) users.
As new communications mediums emerge, jump in. Be an early adopter. It’s in the best interest of new mediums like Google+ and Quora to promote their early adopters. Take advantage of it. Jump into every new site there is. Then, manage your membership daily.
For the manpower to execute this campaign, and to talk about your own marketing vision, call 310 598 1606 or email email@example.com … Ask for Bob Wan Kim. I wrote this.