This week my thoughts will be focused on chapter 8 titled “Going viral: The Web Helps Audiences catch the fever” from the book “The New Rules of Marketing & PR”. The chapter begins by talking about the Mentos/Diet Coke video that showed when a Mentos candy is dropped in a bottle of diet coke it causes the coke to explode. This video went viral, and the guys that made the video were on every TV station, and everyone was talking about this video in the blog and news world. Mentos was very smart about this because they took this as an opportunity to create a “personality” for their candy through this video. For example when the two guys that made the video went on The Today Show, Mentos candy provided them with a convertible car that had their logo on it, and gave out free Mentos. The author David Meerman Scott used this example to illustrate how important it is for companies to pay attention to what is being said and done in the online world about their brands.
In a world where YouTube and podcast exists, there are videos being made everyday from average people that just have a video camera and an idea. At times these average people come up with great ideas and end up making a video that millions watch and enjoy. As we just talked about the Mentos and Diet Coke video, there are many videos and blogs being made that at times if companies are aware, can find their products being used in them. A smart company will then take advantage of that free exposure and encourage the video to go viral. But the book explains how companies need to be careful and not become a “corporate nanny” and overstep their bounds. Meerman says “too often corporate communications people at large companies distance themselves from what’s going on in the real worlds of blogs, YouTube, and chat rooms. But it’s even worse when they try to control the messages in ways that the marketplace sees as inauthentic”. Meaning when a company decides to encourage a video to go viral, they must work with those individuals that made the video and not go into it trying to call the shots and micro manage the effects of the video.
Not all videos that are made go viral, the book talks about how “timing” and “luck” is needed for this to happen. Some companies also try to create their own kind of viral video by hiring individuals to create a video to promote their brans, but the dangers of this is that it doesn’t have the same “homey” feeling and “authenticity” a video would have if it was made by average people at home. Meerman says “the vast majority of these campaigns fail” but that “companies should not forget that something might go viral that they didn’t start”. So it is important once again for companies to emphasis the importance of being aware to the online world and seeks those opportunities that may come once in a company’s lifetime.
This week I have chosen to focus my blog on chapter 16 titled “The new rules for Reaching the Media”. This chapter illustrates the different techniques that we can use as PR professionals when we want to pitch ideas to the media and know how to target the right media outlet to get stories and products out there. The chapter begins by talking about the biggest issue PR professionals have when pitching ideas to journalist, and the issue is Spamming! Spamming a journalist consists of sending an email about an idea or a product that has nothing to do with what the journalist writes about.
Spam can also be sent in the form of news releases and blind pitches that are just irrelevant to journalists. I know that as a PR professional in training I read this and thought why would any PR professional send out spam in order to get a story out there? Then I realized that as a PR professional your goal is to get journalist to write about the product you are representing in order to please the company. I came to personally believe that spamming is done because of the pressure PR professionals might face to make sure their clients are happy. I think that if PR professionals realize and apply the proper pitching techniques, then all parties will be happy and spamming will cease to exist.
Some of these techniques were discussed in the chapter, but I will highlight a few that I thought were very effective, and go over why I thought they were most important to remember. The first point is “Pitch bloggers, because being covered in important blogs will get you noticed by mainstream media”. This is important because if we want to get stories and products to be noticed we need to get well known bloggers to cover the products and create buzz, many journalist look for stories on these blogs, so chances of being discovered by a major media outlet become very high when a blogger writes about the product.
The second technique to use when trying to pitch ideas is “Before you pitch, read (or listen to or watch) the publications (or radio program or TV show) you’ll be pitching to”. This is important because journalist will see that your message isn’t just another random news release that will go to their trash, but it shows that you have really looked into personalizing the pitch and it will make your email stand out and actually be read by journalist. I think that the key here is to stand out when pitching and to make a connection with the journalist you are targeting with your pitch.
The last pitching technique that I felt was important is “don’t tell journalist what your product does. Tell them how you solve customer problems”. The book goes on and says that another way to do this is by even getting customer interviews or people that like the product you are promoting, and to add those interviews and excerpts in the pitch. Journalists like to hear about how a product is useful and in action, and I can see how this is more effective than just describing a product because it adds personality to the product. It makes it so the journalist can relate to it as well, and hopefully become passionate enough to write about how it can benefit those that are their readers.
As a PR professional in training I feel like this chapter was good preparation for amazing pitches I hope to write that will stand out and make my future clients happy. I think if we stay away from spamming journalist, the relationship between PR professionals and journalist will improve, and that is one of the main goals in becoming a true professional.
Being Public Relations professional takes a lot of skills that one must know and improve throughout his or her career. Skills such as leadership, branding and essentially being the conscious of the person or the company one is representing. So it is important that we not only know the different ways to advertise like creating newsletters and blogs, but also how to execute the plans we make and create content that will be beneficial for all parties involved. For my reading in the book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” I read chapter 11 titled “Online Thought Leadership to Brand Your Organization as a Trusted Resource”, it was a great chapter that not only explained the different forms of content that is used to market online, but it also went into depth about how we can develop something called thought leadership. The chapter explains that thought leadership content is when we “put away our company hat” and we think like the buyers or the public. We stop thinking as employees of whatever company we work for or person we work for, and we immerse ourselves with a new mindset.
Developing thought leadership is not easy but if we learn to disassociate ourselves from our PR and marketing jobs a lot of great ideas can come to mind in how we can connect better with our public, and create better content for online publicity. The book explains that content is important when trying to connect with our particular public online, because it can be a great way to help solve a lot of solution’s that people may have. For example if you are the marketer for an auto tire manufacturer, the company can come up with videos that can talk about the safety measures when driving in snow, or write an e-book explaining the different type of tires to buy and which ones are best for what area you live in. the goal here is to make sure that the content is there to help your customers with their problems, and to come up with solutions for them according to what your product may be.
Hopefully this simple tool of being a thought leader will help us all in becoming greater assets to any companies we end up working for. I know that as PR and marketing professional our goal is not only be the conscious if the company, but we must also be very conscious about the public we are working for. I know that as we develop this principle of being a thought leader then we will develop amazing content and build great relationships with customers for life.
This week I have chosen to focus my thoughts on chapter one, titled “The Old Rules of Marketing and PR Are Ineffective in an Online World”. I particularly enjoyed this chapter because it clearly spelled out the differences to how we use to view and practice the art of marketing and PR and how we should do it today. For example, the author David Meerman Scott begins by sharing a personal story about when he was looking into buying a car. He went straight to the company websites such as GM and Ford, and found that there was poor content and “no personality”. He felt these website were more focused on showing car commercials and advertisements, then assisting the customers in having a personal car shopping experience.
He felt like there was no authenticity on these sites and that the customers were given content that was “a string of messages that had been developed in a lab or via focus groups”. He eventually found a car searching website that made it easy to find what he was looking for and the site even had pages of car owners with their own experiences with a particular car. The point he was making changed the way I personally viewed Websites, I started searching through some of my personal favorites such as Amazon.com and Orbitz.com and realized that they had authenticity and personality, and I now see why I use Orbiz.com over Priceline.com, and Amazon.com over Ebay.com.
The web is an amazing tool that we have in our modern day but only if used correctly, as David Meerman Scott sais “Prior to the web, organizations only had two significant choices to attract attention: Buy Expensive advertising or get third-party ink from media. But the web has changed the rules. The web is not TV. Organizations that understand the New Rules of Marketing and PR develop relationships directly with consumers like you and me”.
Public Relations and Third-Party Ink:
This section of the book focuses on skipping the third-party and coming up with your own set of rules for PR and reaching out to your consumers, without having to be a part of an exclusive PR club. It talks about how in the past PR professional main focused was to write press releases, and target exclusive reports and editors and hope that they would write something positive about their company or product. But with the power of the web an organization can learn to build a website with great content and personality to reach to consumers their own way and directly.
Below is the list given in the Book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR”
The old rules of PR:
- The only way to get ink was through the media.
- Companies communicated to journalist via press releases.
- Nobody saw the actual press release except a handful of reporters
- Companies had to have significant news before they were allowed to write a press release.
- Jargon was okay because journalist all understood it.
- You weren’t supposed to send a release unless it included quotes from third parties, such as customers, analysts, and experts.
- The only way buyers would learn about the press release’s was through “clip books”, which noted each time the media deigned to pick up a company’s release.
- PR and marketing were separate disciplines run by different people with separate goals, strategies, and measurement techniques.
My Final Thought
This chapter can help us as Future PR professionals learn where our market is heading, as it was stated in the chapter “The internet has made public relations public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on media. Blogs, online news releases, and other forms of Web content let organizations communicate directly with buyers”. I feel like my eyes were open after reading this particular chapter, and I understand the importance of good content and authenticity when creating a website. I know that this information will help me be a better PR professional wherever I go and I can add value to any business I work for when I graduate.
It was just a regular day at the Accounting office where i work at on campus, as usual i go into the office and go into my cubicle to see loads of papers to scan for the day. As i sit there scanning and doing the tedious things that Accounting clerks do, i often sit there and think about the future and what i hope to do someday. With the work being so mundane, i usually have a lot of me time to ponder about future goals of wanting to someday open up my own PR firm, to someday be my own boss and doing what i love to do most! After much day dreaming and scanning, i decided to go out to the water fountain to get a drink of water, as i am walking towards the water fountain i bumped into my friend name Jessica, right away we started to catch up and talk about what was going on in our lives, she too is a Communications major so that was one of the topics of our conversation. As we talked about exciting opportunities in our major, Jessica goes on to tak to me about a book she recently read called “The New Rules of Marketing & PR”, she told me that this book had changed her life and that she strongly recommended me to read it if i wanted to know where the market was heading to. She goes on to briefly explain that the book talks about the importance of social media and about the blogging world, right away i was so intrigued that i went online and ordered a copy. She explained to me that the book explains how PR is shifting and how companies now are doing their own PR and marketing through websites, podcast and many more tools available online. I am so grateful for this recommendation, i started to read the book while i was home for the holidays and could not put it down, and i talk to my fellow PR major friends about it all the time. So this brings me to my new point, we were asked to start a blog for my Communication 235 class, which was perfect timing because the book also talks about starting our own blog, and then the more that i thought about it i felt like it would be cool to blog about the book! I got so excited because now i can blog about how amazing this book is and how it can relate to companies and our major. I am excited that through this blog i am able to hopefully share my thoughts about this book, and also share with others how important it is to know and understand the concepts of this book. So i am excited to announce what my first blog will be about and even more i hope everyone will enjoy the power and change this book can have in their major and businesses.