Recommended Reading: Real-Time Marketing & PR

Posted on December 13, 2010. Filed under: Books, Marketing and Public Relations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Real-Time Marketing & PR - book coverYou know how they say time is money? Well, these days it’s your reputation, too.

With an always-on 24/7 internet, if you’re in the news in a negative way, you must respond immediately.

There’s little time to plod though a carefully measured crises communications plan while a story races across the web — where videos go viral and Twitter unleashes a torrent of messages in mere seconds.

It’s time for your marketing and PR to get real

If that thought puts you on edge, or you doubt it’s true, then you could be in for a rude awakening. Or, you can get up to speed by reading Real-Time Marketing and PR, the latest book by marketing maven, A-list blogger, David Meerman Scott.

Just as he did in his groundbreaking The New Rules of Marketing and PR, Scott’s new book helps you see how certain long-held practices are not merely obsolete, but dangerous to your livelihood.

How NOT to engage in real-time PR

Anyone with access to the web can publish content. This so-easy-anyone-can-do-it circumstance sets up a scenario where, Scott says, “consumers set the pace. Left to their own devices, they imagine all sorts of things. They take unpredictable initiatives.”

One example of an imaginative consumer initiative is seen in a tale Scott recounts about Dave Carroll, a musician whose guitar got busted up by United Airlines baggage carriers. Carroll tried to get United to own up to the misdeed, but the company wouldn’t budge. So Carroll took to the web, with a video he created called United Breaks Guitars. The video went viral, news outlets and the blogosphere jumped on the story and Carroll’s plight attracted international attention.

United took a huge public relations hit, all because it would not properly respond to one customer.

Scott gives a blow-by-blow run-down of how the whole thing played out. He fills in all kinds of side details and breaks down the trajectory of the various ways the story shot across the mediaverse.

Monitoring, mobile, and real-time guidelines

United got it wrong, however the book also provides ample examples of companies that got it right by thoughtfully engaging in real-time communications. Time and again, Scott reinforces how paying attention pays off.

photo of girl holding hand to her earOf course, you can’t react in real-time unless you readily know what’s being said. For that to happen you must monitor and analyze media outlets all across the web. With so many venues, in both traditional and ever-increasing new media spheres, this can be daunting. Scott clues you in on how to turn it into a manageable task and offers a handy list of free tools such as Google Alerts, Blogpulse, Technorati and Twingly, and service providers like Attentio, Brandwatch, Cision, Radian6, Sysomos and Visible Technologies.

There’s advice for how to leverage the fastest growing real-time market: mobile, where location-based services such as Foursquare, Layar, and Mobile Spinach enable you to provide customers with instant gratification exactly where and when they want it.

There are tips on how to engage on Twitter (the big-time in real-time), ideas for how to integrate real-time tactics into your sales and customer service efforts,  plus an in-depth section on how to develop effective real-time communications policies—also known as social media guidelines.

An insider tells it like it is

All of this comes from a guy who spent most of his career in the online news business. This is an insider, telling it like it is, in lively, and sometimes good-humored, fashion.

It’s all downright practical. When delving into how to responsibly respond to online stories and social chatter about your company, Scott says: “Some people are plain crazy, and you don’t want to get dragged into dialogue with a psycho.”

Even in the real-time world, you must exercise good judgment. Scott’s book provides plenty of ideas for how your good judgment can help grow your business. Now.

– Deni Kasrel

Comments anyone? Please share your thoughts.

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Communications Trends For 2010 (Part 2)

Posted on January 19, 2010. Filed under: Communications Strategy, Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

January is prime time for crystal ball gazing. You know, looking into the future.

And while we can’t predict all that’s yet to come, we can expect exciting times ahead.

My previous post, Communications Trends For 2010 (Part 1), featured forecasts from several individuals whose ideas and opinions I greatly admire. They’re all deep thinkers who understand communications on many different levels.

A couple other pals were kind enough to offer their two-cents regarding where communications are headed in the coming year, and because these seers sent in lengthier responses, they warrant a separate post.

Here it is, part two of Communications Trends For 2010:

On social media, mobile technology and transparency

From: Jason Spector, a creative and crowdsourcing consultant standing at the crossroads of user experience, community, design and social media. Blog: Jason Spector. Twitter @JasonSpector

Dashboard tools accelerate social media usage

“We’re going to see a more seamless integration of the various communication channels. Going forward, I see a standard communication tool like email or social dashboard providing much of this information pulling from the various sites, like a social/communication profile dashboard. Web clients will probably come first followed by desktop apps. This will lead to a wider acceptance and usage of social media overall.”

Social media permeates the business space

“Businesses of all sizes will get serious about social media. Companies that are still ignoring it are going to be driven into it or truly left behind. Companies that are already involved with it are going to dedicate resources, plan for it and attach an ROI. It’s going to become a major part of marketing and customer engagement initiatives (if they’re not already) and not as much of a secondary effort.”

Mobile plays a much bigger role

“This is an obvious one, but I think the software and hardware of upcoming mobile devices will focus even more on communications, such as AR [augmented reality], gaming, photo, video, file viewing/sharing, conferencing and collaboration. Businesses are also going to focus more on mobile as a viable interactive device for their branding and marketing, such as virtual promotions.”

Transparency is no longer optional

“Consumers are going to demand more transparency from the companies they engage with. They have a huge amount of tools at their fingertips to learn about a company, talk about them and communication with them. It’s no longer just user reviews on sites. Social tools allow for instant support or criticism. The businesses that are honest and open will be accepted (and promoted) while ones perceived as “hiding something” will be seen negatively whether it’s true or not.”

Real-time, Twitter and the ideal integrity profile

From: Autom Tagsa, business communicator, web marketer, corporate specialist and pensive technophile. Blog: autom8. Twitter @autom8

The push for real-time will add complexity but drive other opportunities

“We’ve seen this wave engulf the online stream throughout the latter half of this year. As Google, Microsoft and other major players fiercely compete to secure market share in real-time search, it leaves one wondering just how this flurry of immediacy impacts the day-to-day user: How are they expected to (a) understand/appreciate the technological advancement, and, if they don’t care, how are they (b) expected to effectively filter the barrage of information. Also, as other leading start ups introduce more sophisticated tools that aim to better monetize online ads in real-time, this may well create opportunities that the online advertising industry sorely needs.”

Twitter’s broader penetration will bring us to the next level

“Twitter-r-us. Need I say more? I have long postulated that Twitter will be the driving force that reshapes certain existing and traditional forms of communications. Beyond democratization and paving level playing fields, it is fast becoming a recognized, universal channel (not necessarily for accurate nor meaningful info) but nonetheless ‘the go-to channel’. I’ve already seen ‘follow me on twitter’ embedded as a standard icon on many a communicator’s or company’s online vehicle. Why not on press releases, biz cards, signs, ads, etc. — “follow me” is the new calling card. As I have said many times before ‘Twitter is the iconic face of social media so it’s certainly become prime time and will be more so in 2010 as it begins to penetrate the business environment with upcoming biz-oriented tools.”

Synthesis of the corporate and personal brand will be a market differentiator

“What’s become apparent this year is how loud and clear we all heard chatter surrounding integrity, transparency and one’s corporate or organizational face online. Many struggle to reconcile with the notion of personal brand versus corporate brand, ghost writing/tweeting, etc. as discussions surrounding both ethical and best practice implications begin to colour what we perceive as effective communication versus credible communication and why the “ideal integrity profile” really ought to embody both aspects.

The ones who will secure a trusted following and an attentive audience are those who are able to successfully meld their personal brand with their corporate identity. It will give them a kind of passionate voice behind a stoic product or service. This is purely a visceral interpretation on my part but I think it merits closer attention. We’ll see more and more of that synthesis happening.”

And in conclusion…

All that sure gives us plenty to ponder, eh? Jason and Autom, thanks so much for your two-cents; although I really think your thoughts are worth a lot more.

And readers, follow these gents on Twitter to keep up with what’s on their minds in real-time.

– Deni Kasrel

What do you think of Jason and Autom’s trend predictions for 2010? Have some of ideas your own? Please share. Comments welcome.

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