Monday, January 09, 2006

Emerging 2006 PR Tactics?

I am not in the business of predicting the future, but I've been thinking about some of the most-likely-to-succeed PR tactics for 2006. Here are 3:

Use of IM for media outreach. I've always frowned on this, but more and more of our up-n-comers use it, effectively, with journos of all stripes. It happens best and most often when there is a trusted relationship... after all, could there be anything more intrusive than IM spam? Media Guerilla talked about this recently, too, and did a thorough job of it. Worth a read.

Purpose-built blogs. Imagine blogs that come-and-go, as needed. When blogging first hit it big, all the "how-to-blog" articles talked about the need for successful bloggers to commit themselves to ongoing consistency, lots of posts, etc. Maybe that won't be as necessary in the future? Imagine your client is in the midst of a crisis: a "purpose-built blog" can be dedicated to this single topic; it can address the issues in a more humanistic fashion; it can create a forum where employees and/or outside stakeholders can get "real" information, post comments, etc., assuming you can keep the lawyers at bay ... and, importantly, this blog can fade away when the crisis passes (but always exist in cyberspace for the curious, and for archiving/SOX).

For example, one of our clients recently got sucked into a rat-hole related to online privacy issues. The client's role was not essential or blameworthy, but, they were asked for comment, and the execs there got understandably twitchy. It would have been cool to have been able to create a blog that discussed the specific issues: as PR counsel we could not only have developed some of the initial messaging but also invited key privacy advocates to weigh in as guest-writers, and invited media to check it out as well, as the blog began to develop some worthwhile content.

This idea would have had the added benefit of keeping the issues in a bit of a "silo" - allowing the client's website to remain dedicated to product promotion while the mungy bits got hashed out in a separate forum...

Look for this strategy to get its legs under it in 2006.

Rapid Reaction SEM Campaigns. I talked about this recently, and still like the idea. If agencies gain client permission and budget to do this, it suggests more "ownership" of an issue. Essentially, PR counselors could be empowered to buy up Google AdWords that relate to our clients and, specifically, to industry issues that arise. So, you do PR for an automaker and there's an airbag malfunction that harms an elderly widow? Within hours, the automaker's PR firm can buy-up all the relevant AdWords ("airbag" and "car safety" and "elderly drivers" and "adaptive safety restraints" and any other relevant tags), letting you better control the industry dialogue as it grows on the Web. Even the bloggers who take a negative spin on the story will likely have AdWords running in the sidebars of their stories, so your client's point of view has a better chance of getting some audience.

Want a more relevant, real-world example? I noted that "miners" was one of the top search terms last week. What if the mining company's PR firm bought up all the keywords it could, to ensure that those Google searches led an abundance of information-seekers to its own version of events; to latest updates on the rescue effort; to information about the mis-communication to families; to notes regarding the already-planned financial payments to the survivors?

This might sound ghoulish at first, but please consider that this strategy need not be crisis related ... The same thing could happen when a competitor announces a new, "groundbreaking" product: our clients can buy or bid-up keywords that enhance the odds that their product news does not get lost in the hubbubas folks look-up the competitor's big news.

I am not sure how many of these ideas will gain traction in 2006, but each has real potential.


Blogger SageOne said...

Interesting three...the IM one however, has been used for a while now. It all depends on the reporters comfortability with his sources. Relationships 101 really. I have a core group of scribes that prefer to talk to me over IM because they know when I contact them over it, which is rare, it's for something that they are going to want to listen to. It has to be used sparingly and not used to talk about the weather.

January 19, 2006  
Blogger PR-Guy said...

Thanks for the comment... I agree that IM has been around in PR for a bit. What's impressed me is the level of acceptance it's currently gaining.

Used sparingly, IM could allow PR folks to get past the "PRspeak" that curses our industry (see my most recent post), i.e., we could speak in our natural "voice" via IM, as peers rather than flacks.

January 19, 2006  
Blogger Diazepam-mTs said...

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March 03, 2006  

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