Creativity + content + speed = future of comms

It’s fascinating observing the way the comms industry is changing. I got into PR by accident. Then into ‘social media’ because of morbid curiosity about the way the industry was changing. All this time, I’ve been watching an industry being shaken to the core by its players, funders, detractors and stakeholders alike. It’s scary but good.

Then just when you thought you’d figured it all out, it changes again. (The debate as to whether social media has any relevance within a corporate armoury is largely done. If you don’t think it does, I’m sorry I can’t help you). Now we’re on to the debate about content marketing, brand journalism and transmedia storytelling.

We’ve moved past the why to the what. And in all honesty that’s the hard part. Using a crude analogy. It’s like you’re at a party and you’ve debated and decided with yourself that you like that girl (or guy). Well now you actually have to go up to them and say something. Gulp.

Working out what to say, how you’re going to say are one thing. Then there’s the timing. When’s the right moment to approach?

This is the new paradigm for the modern marketer or communicator. We live in the attention economy. You got one shot so you’d better make it good or I’m off to the next thing.

Creativity isn’t new. Ad men have been doing it and doing it well for years. What’s changed is the speed in which it can be delivered. Coming up with brilliant ideas takes on a whole new dimension when you have to do it under the pressure of the clock.

Those in the know will have heard of the great examples from the likes of SmartBodyform and of course Old Spice.

While it’s not a science in predicting how to get a ‘social media home run’, there are a few tips I’ve come across over the years that should help:

  • Brainstorm different scenarios for your and create responses to be delivered that scenario (like a comedian does) when creating a content calendar
  • Make sure you know the entire history of the brand (warts and all). It help you tell the story better.
  • Have a listening team on hand to pick out trends that can be acted upon
  • Make sure your team has a real web geek (you know the kind of guy that spends a lot of time on Reddit or 4Chan). They’re invaluable in understanding the obscure channels to help get the content seeded out as well as the ‘next big thing’ on the web
  • Don’t be afraid to use a bit of paid action to get content seen. Expecting things to ‘go viral’ organically is one of the biggest misconceptions around social media marketing

I truly believe this is future of communications (note I did not say PR). Coming up with a concept in the morning, developing it the afternoon and publishing it in the evening. Scary. But then again scary is good right?

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