Friday, December 14, 2012
Pigs fly in 2013
Posted by at 1:32 PM
I'm kidding. The truth is, regardless of which side of the media fence you're on -- be that the press or PR -- in today's media environment, we must always be looking for the next big thing. To be a successful communicator today is, by definition, to be innovative. Over the past year our teams have tried many new things, thanks to our creative, willing, and trusting clients. Some of those ideas failed miserably. Some succeeded wildly. All helped us better understand what works, what's hot, and what's hype in the great game of PR.
As a result of these experiments and experiences, here's what I am telling my team and my clients to prepare for in 2013:
Blogging and social are dead. Long live blogging and social. The old social media models are fading, and new models are taking their place. The old rules of "blog early and often, never market, never promote" are being replaced by new models that emphasize less frequent, more potent blogging; moving the conversation from blog comments to social networks; and a dramatic rise in the public acceptance of relevant (keyword: relevant!) calls to action integrated with blogs and other social publishing.
Blog commenting is dead. Long live blog commenting -- on Facebook. We are moving our clients' commenting systems to Facebook in 2013, wherever possible. This not only re-ignites blog commenting, but also makes it more sharable and relevant to readers. And yes, it works for B2B too.
Infographics have jumped the shark. But this is good news. This means the opportunity and demand for outstanding visual narratives is even greater. We need to go beyond mere interesting data points and invest in substantial research to power data-driven narratives, as well as find new ways to visualize information, such as the "visual blog post" pioneered by Gregory FCA, and interactive infographics that engross readers and also provide measurement and conversion capabilities, in addition to media appeal.
Content moves from "king" and a vertical ("content marketing") to the centerpiece of communications. Good ideas are no longer enough. PR shops need to be able to ideate, create, collaborate (internally and with media), copyright (yes, the client can own what the media publishes), publish, orchestrate, marshal, and measure their stories. A pitch alone is not enough in today's environment unless you are Microsoft or Apple or other can't-be-ignored player. A quote in an article is nice, but nowhere near as impactful as a featured guest post, a featured infographic, a featured explainer video, an interactive experience, and so on.
SEO is dead. Long live SEO -- on social media, powered by your great OFF-PAGE published content. Fire your SEO guy and invest instead in understanding and implementing a broad social media strategy that includes POMM: presence, orchestration, marshaling, and measurement. SEO is no longer about keywords. It's about trust. Google is looking at social signals and link quality, and weighing them far more than semantics. Semantics are powering what Google KNOWS about your content, but the results are being powered, increasingly and unceasingly, by social signals and link quality. If you're not getting your content published in major media with links pointing back to your home base(s) online, and if that content isn't being massively socialized, you are playing a losing SEO game.
Email marketing is dead. And pigs can fly. Email is more important and stronger than ever. All of the other things we do increasingly are designed to accomplish one thing at the end of the day: Capture the email address of a qualified prospect. If you're not baking lead loops, landing pages, and email capture into your PR mix, you're not following the money.
That's how I see it from where we stand today. Given the pace of change in our industry, that could change next week. The most important takeaway I have for you is this: When it comes to PR powered by great content and social sharing, there is but one rule that will stand forever: Always be innovating.