Saturday, September 23, 2006

The New PR for Web 2.0: "Fluid Messaging"

With its bulging muscles rippling in places that didn’t exist before, the bold new Web is reshaping the future for business communications. We’re predicting that PR/Communications departments will very quickly have to master what we call the new “fluid messaging” for a business environment overrun with communications channels.

Oh, the old ways will not disappear. Press releases and news conferences will be used to distribute your messages.

But whatever messages your company produces will have to go to a much wider audience. That includes the huge web world and the internet culture that doesn’t particularly like “messages.” The blogging literati prefer the word “story.” And, it soon will be time to take your “story” to the next level.
Example: Thompson Group, a Tampa-based seller of luxury goods ranging from cigars to chi-chi bed linens, recently decided to purchase software that will take its press releases out into the blogosphere and elsewhere. Hey, said a company official, cigar smokers dig blogs and now we’ll reach cigar lovers through blogs.

That software, by Vocus, Inc., is an early sign of the new scramble by a new breed of PR professionals who combine technology and communications strategy to hit the expanded audiences made available via the web and wireless channels.

Just as important as the changing distribution of messages is the business of crafting messages. Gone will be the days of suits and dresses sitting around conferences tables to iron out a single message meant to last for months once it hits the media.

Real time communications is spawning the new Fluid Messaging, which means being fast on your feet to respond to changing situations with information AND explanation. That requires thinking ahead and having in place not messages but an understanding of core values and mission. (Think Google’s “Don’t Be Evil”)

Even in the Fluid Message era, decisions will have to be made when to turn on and off the spigot of information. For example: Would it be better or worse for Hewlett Packard --in real time, right now -- to be answering all of this leaked information that is coming out in the New York Times and Washington Post and other places?

Since all news is all over all the time, it is really imperative that your company get the facts out…fast, accurately, and in a simple style that anyone can understand.

The old consideration was “How Will The Times Play This?” In this new era, add to that: “What Will Bloggers Do With This and How Do We Respond?”

1 comment:

Rob Hartsell, Total Media Innovations said...

This is a very relevant post, and I can relate to the importance of dynamic, vivid, specific messages in the context of radio advertising. It's not enough to play a series of ads for a business, say, the New Jersey Devils hockey team, explaining what kinds of tickets are available and why people should support the team. Rather, a series of ads specifically tailored to the upcoming games, emphasizing key players/matchups and relevant news, is more likely to result in sales. The general message is the same (You should support the team), but the specific supporting details are adjusted to best match the audience.