EC=MC, Generation Y is the answer

As observed in a blog by David Phillips, there is a massive shortage of digital skills available to the PR industry. This is a worry. The industry needs to protect its budgets, especially from online advertising which can promise much but delivers questionably. Organisations who have remained traditional have felt the heat of digital approach them. Online campaigns, social media monitoring and online publishing are all common place – the PR industry must be ready.

The transformative question is… EC=MC

(Every Company is a Media Company)

The phrase was coined by Tom Foremski and describes how companies are publishing content to its stakeholders, meaning that companies must have an understanding of the publishing tools available. The phase never really caught on in the UK but its effects are being felt across the profession.

PR agencies are publishing an increasingly large amount of content online but still write in a fashion which most would deem unsuitable for the internet age. Digital platforms are not designed for dull press releases but rich, dynamic and engaging content. Therefore, agencies not only need to have an understanding of how to use digital tools but also those who understand the correct tone for the digital age. Essentially, agencies need to understand content curation (and this is another blog post altogether!)

In most cases (only in my experience), the right people are not always the more senior. Instead we should avert our eyes to generation Y. Only they can solve the EC=MC equation.

In 2004, whilst most upcoming seniors were still writing press releases, generation Y were already engaging with digital tools. In most cases these were:

        • PHP Forums
        • Instant Chat (such as IRC)
        • Growing blogging platforms (such as WordPress)
        • Building websites from nothing (pure HTML goodness)

MySpace was VERY popular whilst I was growing up and to make any sort of design changes required rather in-depth HTML knowledge. Am I saying PR people should have a knowledge of programming? Yes I am.

The online landscape is as diverse as the cultures living in a student’s dorm. It is more than just social media, far more complicated than “social media gurus” can comprehend. The subtitle of this blog is “Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations and Stuff” because digital has blurred all disciplines and there is even stuff which cannot be categorised.

PR agencies need a helping hand and, in most cases, generation Y is the answer. So go on, give a student a job!

 

My thanks to Neville Hobson who highlighted EC=MC at his #CIPRsm session last week, “How social do you want your PR?”. To see a full list of other sessions taking place visit the CIPR Social Summer page.

Twitter in Dispute with Windows 8 App Developers

Whether you love or hate it; Windows 8 is creating positive waves in the developer community. For the first time, Microsoft’s marketplace has been made available to millions of Windows 8 customers, an outlet only once accessible by their uncompetitive range of Windows Phone devices. By the end of last year developers have cumulatively added more than 75,000 apps to the marketplace.

If you search for “Twitter” on the Microsoft marketplace you get 495 apps appear but only a handful of proper Twitter clients. However, as with the Android marketplace, it is difficult to differentiate between smartphone, tablet and desktop apps.

Windows 8 Twitter Search

The highest rated app by far is Twitter+ but it quickly becomes apparent that this app is built for smartphones, looking rather peculiar on a 1920×1080 resolution display.

The flagship third-party app for Windows 8 desktop and tablet is MetroTwit. Fitting neatly into the Windows 8 Metro interface, it creates lucidity between the start screen and Twitter use. Although it isn’t nearly as advanced as some of the apps found on iOS devices and has a few bugs which need ironing out (such as freezing, inconvenient refreshing and slow loading).

Why? The relationship between Twitter and third-party developers has become awkward.

In a widely publicised event last year, Twitter made developers aware of terms of use that would come into effect which would limit third-party access to their systems, including:

–          Amount of requests per-hour time limits

–          Obligatory authentication calls to the Twitter database

–          Limits to the amount of people using third-party applications

–          Changes to developer rules

As speculated across a number of blogs, this is a move likely to have been made to enhance Twitter’s monetising efforts by pushing advertising across browser based and certified Twitter apps. It is a move which has alienated and ended the relationship with Twitter for many developers.

Don’t get me wrong. I whole heartedly understand Twitter decision to place limits on the number of certified Twitter applications and to reduce the amount of third-party developers. Twitter is a social network but more importantly, a business – they have to make money. Twitter must wake up when it comes to Windows 8 though.

Twitter is actively stopping developers creating decent Twitter apps for Windows 8. We shouldn’t be surprised though, Twitter has already restricted access to the API warning developers that client building will becoming a frownable offence.

In my eyes Twitter needs to wake up and smell the coffee; Windows 8 isn’t going anywhere yet and their users would like to see a decent Twitter app. When will we get one? Who knows.

 

My thanks to @welshcuriosity and @webfoldYasin who helped me discover the full extent of the third-party Twitter app issue in further detail.

5 Things to Remember when Blogging this Year

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This time last year I wrote an article for ProBlogger entitled “8 Reasons Why Students Should Blog”. The post is still well received to this day with over 600 re-tweets! The post set out why students should blog but could actually apply to anyone considering taking up the reigns of blogging.  Now that we are the start of another year I have taken the effort to revise a few of the reasons here.

If you are thinking about getting into the swing of blogging this year, here are a few things you should remember.

1)      Your blog shapes the professional internet
Your personal internet is shrinking. Once signed into Google all your results will be personalised based from previous searches and what your network of contacts have recommended. The purpose of this functionality is to make search results more relevant for everyone but at the same time, much content is being censored, being pushed back through the search results.

Think of your chosen industry as a spider’s web, each strand connected to a professional who could have that dream job for you. Blogging enables you to become one of those stands on the web and stand among your industry’s thought leaders.

2)      Mobile is BIG
With the number of smartphone users in the UK to double between 2012 and 2016, from 19.2 million to 41.9 million, it’s essential to be creating compatible content. Blogging is one of the few channels which can easily adapt its content across a whole range of platforms. I know that this blog can be read on my PC, smartphone, tablet, even my Xbox. All it takes is a few free WordPress plugins and you have compatibility which many companies still pay thousands for. The challenge for blogging is to create diverse content which can still hit a number of platforms.

This year I am probably going to write an estimated 25,000 words on this blog of which 12,500 are probably going to be read on mobile devices (judging from this site’s stats).

3)      Blogging takes a lot of stamina
This point remains relatively unchanged from last year because blogging is still tough. The whole public relations industry produces but still struggles with content. The blogging sphere is so crowded that getting your voice heard above others can be really difficult. To tackle this effective blogging requires the support of social networks and, for public relations students, it’s worth adding yourself to the CIPR Conversation.

If you believe that rather tongue-in-cheek point from CEO of Econsultancy, Ashley Friedlein, then 2013 will be the year of the long blog post.

4)      Consider other forms of advertising
There is nothing wrong with trying to make some money blogging. However, using banners ads can be a painfully long process to pay off. Instead consider other forms of advertising such as sponsored posts, anchored links (although this is gradually being killed off due to search changes) or selling premium content. With the growth of eBook readers consider self-publishing short books – the online space is full of money making options.

5)      Your fellow bloggers
It’s all very well learning the latest bit of public relations theory, how to build effective campaigns and having conversations with the experts but go back to the basics. Remember to follow, recommend and comment on other blogs. Blogging is a community activity and in all likelihood your traffic levels will be partly reliant on the recommendations of others.

And remember, blogging is a marathon and not a sprint.

 

Now, what have I missed?

5 Tips for Building your PR Campaigns this year

Introducing social media elements to a public relations campaign requires more focus than tailoring content for Twitter and Facebook (which really is a 2008 mentality). Instead, we should focus on the wider media mix.

Remember: campaigns aren’t split as traditional public relations and social media; instead we just see the media.

When running a public relations campaign this year it is worth bearing in mind:

1)      Break down communication channels
Understand all the communication channels that will be used in a campaign and then build a strategy for how they will all interconnect with each other. This may include the usual mix of GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook & Amazon) but stretch out a little bit. Remember that newspapers and radio can comfortably sit alongside online channels.

2)      Niches can mean big wins
Segmenting audiences online is a tough business and automatic segmentation, such as drilling down on what users have written in their profiles, can miss key influencers in the long run. Remember that people online will congregate around values and that the stakeholders in your campaign can be drilled down to individual value subsets. This is closely aligned to my research last year.

3)      Content is still king
The public relations industry has been creating outstanding content since the time of Edward Bernays. Yet some clients make content creation difficult (through lack of news or tough sells) and this can cause campaigns to really struggle. Tackle this by part sourcing content from online, share the positive sentiment of your customers (remember to keep copyright in mind!).

4)      Remain fresh
Throughout campaigns be open to new strategies and tactics. The next Twitter could be around the corner or already exist as a growing social media site. Keeping up-to-date with the latest digital communication news can be tough. Follow industry bloggers and those who work in digital (like me!). Reading, attending events and trying out new approaches keeps the industry fresh.

5)      Measurement is crucial
Although this is my last point it should really be at the top of the list. Measurement is key for the public relations industry to survive against online advertising and marketing. It happens before a campaign for identifying audiences and influencers, critical for monitoring and necessary for showing results at the end. Before you start any campaign understand how you are going to measure each part of it.

 

My 3 Words for 2013

Forget New Year resolutions. Every blogger worth their words copies Chris Brogan’s annual layout of adopting three words to follow throughout the New Year. The aim of these words is to anchor one’s personal and professional developments on a set of guidelines. The aim is to look deeper into a word’s usual meaning and to make each word actionable; what can be improved or changed?

My three words for 2013 are…

Stability – I believe and shall embrace 2013 to be a year of stability. Last year I finished University, found a job and then finished a job. This year I have found a new job with the aim to settle and to consistently keep up with industry developments. Stability does not mean contentment – I’m determined to build and maintain a momentum in 2013 that was not otherwise possible during the changes of 2012.

Growth – I plan to grow this year. Last year I graduated from University and now it is time to make a real impact on the industry. This does not mean growing quickly though – progress must be made at a healthy pace. I’m still young and have a lot to learn, at the same time I have a lot to give.

Decisiveness – Last year I moved from a graduate scheme and accepted a position at an agency offering a permanent role. This was the right choice and this act of moving got me thinking. As a graduate, making decisions is critical. Decisions help us find the right path through life, make the correct business actions and allow us to grow both personally and professionally.

What are your three words for 2013?