Are the New Rules of Marketing and PR
Here to Stay?

Web 2.0

So, perhaps we’re on to something with this social media thing, huh?

Eric Eggertson of Common Sense PR wrote an interesting post this past Saturday, offering indications that new media public relations tools, such as blogs, online video, and social media news sites, have finally gained real credibility with mainstream critics and moved away from “fad” status. Eric points to several possible catalysts from the last year or so—including the monumental Google acquisition of You Tube for $1.6 billion—that made it crystal clear to even the most hard-nosed of skeptics that big changes are happening (once again) thanks to the Internet.

This quote from Jim Sinkinson of Bulldog Reporter caught my eye in particular:

Message mapping, powerful PR writing, crisis management, telling stories, building trust, creating long-term relationships—these will always be core communications skills, and we have to know them. But the context in which we use these skills is being dramatically turned upside down.

I couldn’t agree more. Savvy writing and strong relationships will always be the foundation of successful marketing, publicity and public relations campaigns, but there’s no denying the power of the new tools we all have the ability to use.

It’s no wonder that David Meerman Scott’s latest book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, is doing so well. Corporate America can no longer ignore the new rules that the rest of us have been busy following (and sometimes helping create), and David’s book is an excellent guide through new media territory.

What I find most interesting about David’s book, however, is the value it provides the small business person and entrepreneur of any stripe. Here are two things that stood out for me:

  1. The book’s emphasis on using press releases, blogs, podcasting, etc. to reach buyers directly. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, as it should be to anyone selling anything.
  2. The third section of the book is literally a step-by-step marketing and publicity action plan that I believe would be hugely beneficial to anyone marketing online. This is a specific, actionable outline the likes of which you won’t usually find in a regular hardcover book selling at Amazon.

I think it can be fairly easy to feel a bit smug by being “ahead of the curve” on social media. But I also think that you’ll see your results improve when you take an integrated approach to your online marketing, and incorporate traditional marketing and publicity tactics that will never go out of style.

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Comments

  1. It finally feels good to involved in Social Media. Now us forward thinkers have to move on to something else. Cuz it usually get’s all muddied up once it becomes mainstream.

  2. I guess I could have also mentioned that Time Magazine named personal contributors to Web 2.0-style media as the Person of the Year (another signpost of credibility).

    Thanks for the mention, Brian. FYI, on the latest Clue Unit podcast Derek Powazek makes a good point about Web 2.0 companies finally getting right what was wrong with the original brochureware corporate approach to websites.

    http://www.clueunit.com/2007/06/clue-unit-20-a-.html

  3. Hey Eric. Yeah, I think the Time Person of the Year selection meant the hype was on for sure, but corporate adoption of social media means recognition that this goes well beyond hype and represents a fundamental shift.

  4. Interesting subject. Thanks for the link to the book, which is now in my Amazon shopping cart. I don’t feel ahead of the curve at all, but I’m sure I’ll get there. ;-)

  5. It does present a more public shift but what about more practical uses of social media like in the corporate marketplace. Such as creating wiki’s on corporate intranets and providing resources like Digg for the intranet. We haven’t heard of to many companies doing things like this. I think a company who allowed themselves to operate in a Digg like fashion might find out that productivity could increase and so would innovation.

    Just my personal take on it.

  6. Yes, but now that we have people actually paying attention, what does that do for us? We didn’t need credibility from the media to get to a point where blogging made sense; why, all of a sudden, should mainstream acceptance help things now other than to make it easier for the new breed of startups?

    Perhaps I’m being at least a little naive on this. Certainly there’s a lot that companies still have to learn about social media, but I don’t think the rules have completely changed. At least not yet.

  7. Hey Brian;

    I was searching your blog for your great ebook (what is that link by the way?) and guess what I found??

    You said you would not be using Web 2.0 this year. :)

    Thought you would find this amusing.

    Mike

  8. Yeah, I broke the “jump the shark” one too only a week or so ago, and wondered why you didn’t catch it. ;)

  9. Brian, thank you for another succinct “pointer” post.

    For folks already doing it, social media and Web 2.0 don’t need legitimizing, or “permission” to proceed from traditional authorities.

    But, such acknowledgement *does* make it easier to swim in traditional waters, for anyone pushing these newer marketing strategies.

    It’s a perfect article to email to the superior whose company you’re marketing for.

  10. Hi Brian,

    Many thanks for putting my book into context. I appreciate your thoughtful post.

    I’ve noticed some really interesting things in the past year as I developed the proposal for this book, wrote it, and now seeing it sell very well:

    1. When I pitched an agent about the idea in April 2006 , I was signed on the strength of the emailed query in less than one day. That showed that there was a very strong demand for books like I was proposing last year. Perhaps we will see more on the topic (and perhaps a glut) as other publishers bring out books on whatever we all want to call this topic (“Web 2.0″ “Social Media” or “New Rules”)

    2. As I was writing throughout the second half of 2006, I struggled with what to include and what weighting to give various tools. If I were to write the book now, I would probably write less about podcasting and second life and more about facebook, social tagging (like DIGG) and video.

    3. As you know, I am very active on the speaking circuit (about 25 or 30 paid gigs a year). My audience is usally business people but not necessarily people with responsibility for marketing & PR.

    A year ago when I talked about this stuff, a third of the crowd was usually extremely interested and the remainder were either bored or skeptical. A year ago, not everyone thought that my topic was relevant to them.

    Now, the transformation has been uterly remarkable. My audiences watch with rapt attention. All eyes are on me as I speak. Blackberrys are off.

    You’re right Brian, many entrepreneurs and small business owners are the most interested. Based on the audiences I’ve presented to in the past few months, this stuff we’re all talking about is NOT a fad. Groups as diverse as human resources professionals, investor relations professionals, the Alaska Telecom Association, custom homebuilders, independent booksellers, and software company executives all see value in this stuff. All are eager to understand how to make it work for them and their organization.

    Amazingly, we are only at the very start of the learning curve for almost everybody out there. There is a tremendous opportunity for all of us.

    To answer your blog post title question in a word ABSOLUTELY!

    Thanks again Brian!

    Cheers, David

  11. Rachel:

    I don’t think the startups need the legitimacy to build good products, so this may not have much impact on them.

    However, if you get past the technology industry and the Web 2.0 companies themselves, the legitimacy goes a long way toward adoption of new tools. I could care less if CNN adds yet another consumer-generated media option, but I’m interested to see the rise of some of the Digg-like tools for internal knowledge sharing that David mentions, and other uses of social media in non-tech companies.

    The examples are out there, but they’re still few in number.

  12. Great article, this is something we have been playing with as a corporate environment, and how to begin to use some of these tools.

  13. As a new Blogger and extremely interested in social communities I really liked your post and will certainly look at the book you discussed. As you linked to Amazon.com and if you or any of your readers are pet lovers I would like to mention the use of Amazon.com by Bloggers and The Humane Society of the United States’ lawsuit against them for selling materials promoting illegal animal fighting. (http://blog.petrealtynetwork.com/?p=51)

  14. Yes, it is pretty clear that online social media websites has certainly gone mainstream. It’s all over the major news channels on a daily basis. Just think about the YouTube Hillary Clinton Sopranos spoof video and the “I’m in love with Obama” video. Social Media is everywhere and can be a huge marketing tool.

  15. David thanks for the followup about your speaking engagements. I think everyone here can agree on one thing: the more socially acceptable something is the more popular it becomes. A little frustrating, but in the end we will all benefit. Book ordered!

  16. The world of marketing is changing, that is for sure. It is fun to watch how big corporations are (not) finding their way in the new environment.

    Example that might be of interest is the virtual world of Second Life. last year it was the hype and lot of big names came in and invested money in new marketing opportunities. But, last week, Forbes magazine stated that most of them are disappointed. Their in-world locations are mostly empty, their messages are not reaching anybody. Analysts said that second life is not a place to advertise but “to get laid”. So far from truth…

    I blogged about the issue at http://metaverse.acidzen.org/2007/corporations-sux-in-second-life here are some main points:
    It is not true that second life and other developing virtual worlds are not good for marketing (and yes, for getting virtually laid but nobody denies that). They are opportunity worth gold. But, they are different. Most of the companies built their locations, presented what they have to present and are waiting for a miracle.

    Now, really, would you come into building (virtual or real) to watch somebody’s advertisements? I don’t think so. It seems that they forget to put themselves in position of a visitor and to ask a crucial question: “What’s in there for me?” Most of the bloggers know that question very well. Why should anybody visit my site? Because I am adverizing my products there? Yeah right! Second Life is full of interesting things, great builds and nice people… lot of fun you can find there if you are into that kind of using your computer and internet connection. Competition in entertaining residents is huge. And much of competition comes from the places that are not made for marketing purposes.

    On the other hand, virtual worlds are great place to communicate with your customers and potential customers. They are so great that old ways (that are used in traditional media like newspapers and TV) are not working. I don’t want to watch commecials. I want to be informed and communicated. And I want it in fun and interactive way. I want to benefit from that. In any other case, I just go to another place. Just the same as with landing on a blog but with added opportunity that, in second life, I also can meet other customers and company representatives and to talk to them live.

    The new media, both 3D web and the web2.0 are giving us new and different ways of communication. And they are asking for them too. Those who keep to old boring TV approach will be kicked out of the game. No pity for them.

  17. The rise of social media was inevitable in a world where everyone wants their 5 minutes of fame.

    It gives everyone the opportunity to have a voice (how loudly that voice is heard is still a matter of repetition and promotion like any other message) but the fact that the average person can now weigh in on … anything … is the logical progression of the “always on” media world we live in.

    I believe we’ll see social media at the core of many business launches, integrating user opinions and contributions will be “the norm” in the years to come.

    We do a lot of social media marketing for clients, but interestingly the application of it for business does not seem as natural and intuitive to business owners, than it does for personal ranting / blogging.

    This will change as people become more used to the tools and how to apply them to different situations.

  18. Internet is constantly changing and evolving. Who knows how things will shape up from here but the trend is of more interaction and personalized services.