I recently returned from a week’s stay in Paris, where I hadn’t been for 10 years. It’s one of my favorite cities, but in my usual quest to find traditional French fare, this time I found mostly international cuisine – particularly Italian. I couldn’t go any place without running into at least two Italian restaurants, and they looked pretty popular. Now, I love Italian food, but that’s not why I go to France. In Paris I want to find more places like the one pictured here.
Similarly, in communications, there used to be a place for everything: the press release, the marketing piece, the byline, the op-ed. Those were separate and distinct, and clients didn’t request a press release expecting it to read like an op-ed. Their byline better not read like their paid content (which was marketing collateral as there were no blogs) or publications wouldn’t accept it. In other words, if you were in France, you could expect to eat French food.
In the age of electronic and hyper-connected communications, however, we want – and can have – it all. And, subsequently, all types of media seem to converge. We write a press release, but it’s often not to interest the press; it’s so the release can reside on a website and be linked to marketing collateral or used to drive traffic elsewhere on a site. And people don’t want just press releases any more. They want blogs and other content that can be posted on their site or someone else’s. Those blogs don’t have to be objective either. They can read more like op-eds and often do. Even the daily “news” sites I read daily have a large dose of opinion, humor and personalization in them in addition to so-called factual information.
And if you’re planning a major PR initiative, you better include social media. Get a hashtag for the kick-off event, live tweet during it and possibly schedule a Twitter Chat on the issue for later. Of course you’ll be tweeting out any content you’ve created, in addition to posting it on LinkedIn or even Facebook.
Your graphic use will not be confined to marketing collateral. Far from. The best way to capture eyeballs on social media is through visuals, so you’ll create them for content that was formerly just grey. You might create an infographic that you’ll try to place rather than writing a press release or pitching a story idea. An infographic gives others the opportunity to drive eyeballs to their site through visuals – always a plus.
Today, you can be in Paris and eat Italian, American, Thai or high-end fusion cuisine. Finding traditional French cuisine? Not so easy. The same is true with communications. You don’t have to go to just a print publication to find a news story; you can find it online via your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet. If you write a blog, you better make sure people know where to find it by publicizing it on Twitter, LinkedIn, and maybe on one of your partner’s websites.
As PR professionals we have to offer our clients the ability to do any kind of communications separately or all at once – and on multiple media. If they want traditional communications, we have to offer that, too – just as long as we advise them what else is on the menu. They can have traditional French if they want it, but the rest of the world is sampling a whole range of choices.
What mix of communication tactics do you find most effective? Leave a comment below, or tweet us at @RHStrategic with the hashtag #RHetoricBlog.
RH Strategic is the PR firm for a hyper-connected world, delivering integrated media, social & digital strategies for technology, healthcare, and public sector markets.