Welcome to the Next Generation of PR and Marketing
Presenting to a group of skeptics isn’t the easiest thing in the world.
A challenge I face in most of my seminars is to take some very complex and highly technical concepts and create a clear picture in the minds of my audience to help them see ahead to the exciting new public relations possibilities which lay before them. And it is my goal to make sure each person can walk away with a tool, or set of tools, they can put into place the next day.
Complicating things further is that most of my audiences are made up of a mixed group. Some are very tech-savvy, and in some niches, better equipped than I. But there are others in the audience who don’t even have an e-mail address yet. (Yes, I know…) This is not entirely bad thing, because it forces me to put my presentations into plain, everyday English and usually in the end, even the techies come to appreciate that.
With one particular tech-challenged audience, I knew conveying the big picture was my best chance at inspiring them to action.
“Do you remember the very first time you heard about the Internet?” I began.
I recalled my first time, in 1994 when I heard about the Internet, then called the “Super Information Highway,” on the TV news. People said it would be big.
An acquaintance of mine who worked at the New York Times during the early to mid 90s, said that the Web site news department was so cramped, that they referred to their carpet-less, antiquated office as “the rat hole.” Even the New York Times didn’t think this whole digital thing would take off.
Now 15 years later, it’s hard to imagine a world without the Internet. It serves as a foundation of modern day business. It’s a pillar of our social lives. We bank, shop, share ideas, connect with other like minded people and even find love on the Internet. Remove it and there would be an economic collapse of massive proportions.
“Remember when Google came out?” I continued.
In the late 90s, Google was one of those new “Web crawlers” out to rival Yahoo, Megellan, Lycos and Excite. Back then, if you told me someone was “Googling” me, I would’ve probably filed a restraining order. But now as ridiculous as the name once sounded, it is a term that’s synonymous with the word “search.” It’s currently the most powerful tool for organizing the massive information heap that is the Internet. These days, if you’re not on Google, you don’t exist.
And now it’s 2009 and I’m telling you about this crazy phenomenon known as “new media PR and marketing.” Call it “social media marketing” call it “Web 2.0.” Just like the super information highway, those terms may die off, but what’s more important is the concept. And just like the Google and the Internet itself, it’s here to stay.
Whereas the Internet used to be a place to house what I call “Web brochures” or old Web sites that were simply about promoting their companies’ products and services as a one way dialogue, today the Internet (Web 2.0) is about conversations and two way dialogue. Social media is simply a collection of software tools that allow groups to generate content, to share it and engage in peer-to-peer conversations.
However, there’s one big difference. Social media is growing at a rate much faster than that of its platform. So while the Internet took about 10 years to evolve passed its initial phase, social media is well into its adolescence and moving into adulthood.
Getting into social media now is like arriving at a party that’s been going on for five years. And there’s a pretty good chance that your competitors are already there too, mingling with your prospects, forming relationships, winning friends.
But congratulate yourself. You’ve read this far because at some point, you realized you need to know about this stuff. I’m here to filter out the good information from the bad, the useful from the useless and present it here for you. And if you see something you love, something with which you disagree or just want to share, talk to me and let me know about it.
Welcome to my blog.