The question of integration

Shifting your entire promotional budget into on-site event marketing or press release distribution is a bit like having your financial portfolio manager tell you to pour all your money into a single fund.  It’s rarely a good choice in the long run. In investing parlance, the best approach is called “diversification.” In my line of work, we call it “integration.”

What if Edward R. Murrow had "Tweeted"?

Sending a press release to an editor, securing an exhibit slot at an industry conference, or hosting an event are all important traditional elements or “tactics” in most campaigns.  But they cannot stand alone.  As you’ve likely noticed over the past decade, the power of the Internet has ballooned and “others” are using it. However, you may still see it as a “tool” or some minor obligatory clause in your business plan.

PR is a living animal, constantly adapting to new environments and getting stronger as it forms and maintains relationships with people in real time. This is thanks to the ever-growing opportunities in open communication sources: Web, social pages, apps, Internet TV, and sharing services.  The list goes on.  But online marketing shouldn’t be treated as the first and only course of action when you want to build your brand. The fact is that traditional channels still need to be utilized simultaneously in any campaign.  They must converge.

An effective PR executive will know how your brand should dwell in the online community, and he or she won’t fall back on the occasional announcement or blog post.  Living in this neighborhood puts you face-to-face with both believers and detractors.  Both are critical in giving you the opportunity to deliver your message and enhance your credibility with customers and potential partners.  The same can be said for standing in front of your booth at the annual conference or chatting with a reporter over a coffee.

Never forget the fundamentals.  Time-tested methods of traditional “peoples’ relations” and online strategies must be woven together in order to create not just name recognition of your product or brand, but an integrated and living presence in the marketplace.

Taking on a corporate blog: Be careful.

As most in business and marketing are aware, the Web site is the first place someone visits to learn more about you and your company.  Then, they want to know how you think and your approach to business.  What’s on your mind? How do you see yourself fitting into today’s business landscape? How are you adapting?

How do you successfully earn credibility and take that extra step toward engaging a customer? Today, being a portal for information and education is critical in terms of positioning yourself as a “thought leader.”   You might think, however, “What if we’re selling a unique product but need the broad support of industry? Won’t taking a stand on one side or the other hurt our image or push one market segment away?”

(courtesy: Businessweek)

Early on, businesses were uncertain about the value of the blog. Today, an increasing number are carefully employing them in their business strategies.

Take a stand in support of education. You don’t need to sell your product on your blog.  That’s your Web site’s job.  For example, a blog can be used to identify and explain the latest developments in an emerging technology and what it is designed to do, not to rate the innovation. The same can be said for reporting the latest governmental rules and regulations, new developments in the industry space, new technology being used abroad, and so on.

Report the news.  Don’t make editorial statements. Illustrate that your company knows the industry and all its parts. Overtime, visitors will see that your company knows what it’s doing and is knowledgeable – knowledgeable enough to know that its solution fills a gap.  But your visitors will decide that for themselves as you encourage them to visit your web site.  You have empowered them with information to make personal and business decisions that, overtime, just may lead them to your door.