The emergence of blogs, podcasts and user-generated content sites like YouTube and Digg are changing the communications hierarchy as we know it. The traditional media channels – newspapers, magazines, television and radio – while still viable, no longer wield the influence and reach they once did in disseminating information and more importantly, shaping brands. Sites like TechCrunch and GigaOm are quickly building loyal followings, and their specialized content is partly responsible for this paradigm shift that is re-shaping the media mix.
Given these dynamics, organizations must rethink their marketing and PR strategy, and identify how to harness the power of the geographically dispersed “specialist.” Why? Because they can influence the way your products and services can be promoted (or demoted).
Case in point: yesterday on Digg, a reader pointed to an unsatisfactory rating of 1-800-FLOWERS because the retailer did not deliver roses on Valentines Day, and their customer service department could not be reached to resolve the issue, let alone offer a refund. Situations like this happen all the time, but now the “average Joe” has the power through the Web to communicate these instances and influence opinions on a brand. Conversely, an exceptional customer experience can be easily documented, hence the power of these new tools.
New media channels, all part of Web 2.0, represent a wave of convergence that not only encompasses how content is created, but also how it is delivered through the Internet, television, and other mobile devices. This opens up a myriad of opportunities to create excitement and buzz, and connect on an individual basis to your target audience(s).
PR 2.0 must target bloggers; but you must also consider utilizing a blog to communicate your core messages. Podcasts and interactive videos also provide powerful tools to demonstrate a product or service to a global audience. These practices must complement existing approaches in order to implement a multi-model communications platform to touch target audiences across a range of media and mediums.