PR needs to Focus on Conversations

PR needs to Focus on ConversationsIt’s no secret that the number of publications has declined over the last few years. The impact of that can be felt in B2C as well as B2B Marketing. There are fewer numbers of print publications remaining and every company’s marketing department wants to garner more traditional press. But it’s a zero sum game and we are all fighting over the same shrinking slice of pie!

Worse yet, upper management hasn’t backed off the idea of “getting ink” in favor of new forms of digital ink. I still hear marketers say – “my CEO just doesn’t care about blogs – they only want to be in the NY Times or Wall Street Journal”.

This is really doing the PR industry a disservice. Let me explain …

With the number of traditional publications declining it brings the traditional walls that have been the master of the Public Relations industry down with it. PR becomes this amorphous blob that can move into many adjacent markets. Obviously PR firms could add “digital media” as a compliment to “traditional media” but upper management doesn’t care about digital media.

What they need to sell to upper management is not the notion of targeting certain blogs (I know I get tons of emails every day asking to cover a certain story – which by the way is the wrong approach) – it’s the notion of being part of conversations!

Think about this – Years from now the only lasting memory of your firm won’t be the print impressions it garnered – it will be the conversations your firm was involved in and had the greater share of voice of! PR should be trying to help us OWN as much digital media land as we can – that specifically relate to the conversations that are important for your company to be a part of. We go from targeting Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 publications to targeting Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 conversations!

For Example – Avaya should be part of any Business Communications conversations on the web because that is what we do. We should own that conversation from a share of voice perspective and report to the CEO what’s our “Market Share” in that conversation much like we do with regular market share data based on revenue. By extension we also want emerging conversations on Social Media’s impact on Business Communications (perhaps that is a Tier 2 conversation) or even further out, the impact of Video on Business Communications (perhaps a Tier 3 conversation).

PR Agencies need to start driving this agenda for their client firms and increasing their market share in specific conversations where ever they happen – rather than continuing to fight for a few coveted spots on page 3 of the Washington Post!