If you work in technology, like I do, you may be familiar with the Gartner Hype Cycle. If not, this is what it is -- industry research firm Gartner Group use a graph to try and make sense of the maturity of different applications, tools and technologies in any given market.
Interesting to note that corporate blogging is classified as part of the slope of enlightenment. To me, many companies that would benefit from building a content platform of their own are still undecided as to how to integrate them as part of business communications.
That was for technology. This below here is for PR.
The chart is courtesy of Tom Murphy, a European PR professional I met through blogging and Twitter who currently works at Microsoft. Notice anything interesting about the chart? Tom pulled it together in 2005 -- almost 5 full years ago -- for a post he wrote about pragmatic public relations at the Global PR Blog.
In it, he wrote about the importance of understanding your audience, the still important role of journalists and third party media, the need by PR professionals to embrace technology, being actively aware of changes that affect your audiences, and thinking about conversations.
You'll find the post as relevant today as it was 5 years ago -- down to the poor use of email by individuals and the profession overall. You must understand your audience is even truer because the options to reach people have just gone up, yet the path to connection is not as linear anymore.Three areas of improvement
While the relative placement on the curve (or cycle) of some of the tools available to help individuals and organizations communicate effectively with their audiences may have shifted slightly, I'd say that overall, we're still looking at productivity being driven by the better known activities on the right.
I see the issue of control as being more driven by neglect and inability to have a conversation strategy, than pure rigidity. Being in the driver seat today means being an active participant and steward of products and services. In fact, this is the single driver of differentiation, still. And yet, not many align resources to operate that way.
- Manage the database is more an imperative in such a fluid environment. That's where the money is -- knowing who does what in a network, how influence moves, the information needs of a company's various stakeholders. Other marketing disciplines have been faster to embrace technology and the database tops the list for usefulness.
- Change how you think about press releases. This is still an effective way of getting the news out. Yet, we still call them "press" releases and not "news" releases. Why? It must be a case of needing internal validation. I know many a person who would have a hard time thinking about company messaging as news.
- Learn how news and information spread online. And make your news and information spreadable. This is not just about packaging it with a share widget. It means rethinking what data points and references are useful to the people you're looking to influence and connect with.
Other resources:100 PR People Worth Following on Twitter
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.