Monday, May 3, 2010

Content in 4G

Since our rundown on the technology and capabilities of what “4G” really means in those cell phone ads, it might make sense to look at public relations on advanced networks from a less technical perspective. Let’s start with a basic premise:

New technology means new opportunities to sell stuff.

It’s pretty obvious how that translates into new opportunities for our cousins who write ads for consumer goods. From Dell (the manufacturers) to Best Buy (the retailers) to eBay (the place to buy a Dell once purchased at a Best Buy), they’ll all either need or already have new ad campaigns designed to build followers on Twitter, “Likes” in Facebook and, ultimately, dollars in the PayPal account.

What’s not obvious is how service industries (such as public relations and corporate communications) can take advantage of all the new eyeballs carrying content machines with them wherever they go. Particularly for public relations professionals in Washington, DC, our goals often relate to subtle change on issues, not the number of units shipped.

The solution to the PR/4G riddle is most likely a 100-page market segmenting memo (ed. note – memo in progress). But three simple ideas might illuminate the path:

1. Content is still king – everyone wants their video to go “viral” because it seems as if you’re getting something for free when other people spread the word. But unless your kid just got back from the dentist, the odds of a major viral pick-up are long against you - you’ll get only as much out of your content as you put in. Invest in PR professionals who can develop creative and compelling content, and maybe *maybe* you’ll win the viral lottery.

2. Everyone is someone’s publicist – as services that used to require inside know-how become commoditized (like video editing or pulling contact info on reporters), the competition to stay relevant intensifies. Understand that anyone with a smart phone could be a news source – it’s both a threat to your message discipline and a tremendous opportunity to bypass the traditional media filters.

3. Relationships still matter – Remember to ask clients, potential clients and the reporters covering you what their customers and audiences want to know. Your skill at maintaining those relationships will endure long after your iPhone dies and the Fail Whale comes for us all.

In other words, no matter how big or small that number is in front of the “G” in your network, new technology means new opportunities for smart PR pros who take the time to tell good stories.

- Potomac Communications Group

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