David Meerman Scott: The Sage of New Media

February 27, 2009
photoofdavidmeermanscott_0063Not since the lessons of man were laid down on papyrus has one book so succinctly held the virtues of a way of life. Apologies in advance to anyone offended by that initial statement and comparison (whispers: because I was referring to the Bible), but the scope of importance that David Meerman Scott‘s The New Rules of Marketing & PR spans requires a lofty description. Scott’s New Rules is the go-to guidebook for anyone and everyone in the fields of marketing and public relations. From the undergrad to the company president, this book should not only be required reading for anyone who wants to learn and understand how to use new media to promote their organization, it should be a bedside tome. Scott has succeeded in explaining how to use new media, from blogs to podcasts and site content to viral marketing (and social media and search engine optimization and like a trillion other things), to take your organization into the new and necessary future of marketing and PR. New Rules is a godsend for anyone who wants to know, thinks they know, or doesn’t know a thing about how to effectively use new media.
The Bible of New Media

The Bible of New Media

Following up a masterpiece is never an easy task, just ask J.D. Salinger or Hootie & The Blowfish. Scott, however, seems poised to keep the streak alive with his latest offering entitled World Wide Rave. You may be asking, “What the heck is a World Wide Rave?” Well fear not, my companions, Scott has an answer for you. According to the official World Wide Rave site, a WWW (for shortsies) is “when people around the world are talking about you, your company, and your products. Whether you’re located in San Francisco, Dubai, or Reykjavík, it’s when global communities eagerly link to your stuff on the Web. It’s when online buzz drives buyers to your virtual doorstep. And it’s when tons of fans visit your Web site and your blog because they genuinely want to be there.” Well that sounds positively splendid to me. Who wouldn’t want that? If you’re on the Web, you’re there for a reason, and that’s because you want people to hear what you have to tell them. Learning how to bring the world where you want them sounds like a nice size target audience, no?

The New Testament

The New Testament

I encourage you to get to know Mr. Scott and his work. In fact, if I were you I’d just buy copies of both books right now. I’ve already ordered my copy of World Wide Rave and a second copy of New Rules, because when you refer to Mr. Scott’s wisdom as much as I do, it’s better to have a back-up for when you can no longer read through the highlights, dog-ears, and notes in the margin.

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Let’s Do Some Social Networking (Not for Softball Guy)

February 7, 2009

It’s almost rare these days to meet someone who isn’t on MySpace or Facebook or involved in some sort of online social network. Those that aren’t usually fall into one of three categories:

1) The first are the seniors or Champions Tour members of our society due to the fact that, let’s just face it, lack the now nearly innate skills (computer and social) required to handle the complexities of this new medium. They deserve a pass and special kudos for getting on board. C’mon, you can keep in touch with the grandkiddies!

2) The second group are those members of generations Baby Boom and X due to a number of factors including, but not limited to – jobs, families, apprehension, “don’t get it”, they just don’t have the time, and their kids don’t want them on. I believe that we’ll start to get a lot more converts from this group once they realize it’s not just for kids and twenty-somethings, but can actually help you professionally (we’ll address this later).

3) The third group are those that believe they are just too cool for MyFace or Spacebook or because “that %#@! is just for high school girls”. Everyone has a few friends who are still holding out just to be contrarian or for the attention they get when people ask them why they aren’t on. You can usually recognize this guy (it’s usually a guy) by the fact he’s in a three summer softball leagues, has meetings regarding said leagues in the winter, and is still holding onto that high school dream in hopes that Dave Dombroski will attend that West Michigan Softball Classic and recognize what every one else has somehow missed these last ten years.

What I’m getting at is that unless you have a good excuse, there’s no reason not to be utilizing social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter just to name a few (besides bands and other artists, MySpace really is just for high school girls). Just look at it as another way to get yourself out there, socially and professionally. Instead of breaking down each site and explaining how you can benefit just look at it from the perspective of a company. Let’s face it, when you boil everything down we’re all just our own personal brands. Just like Google, Nike, Apple, Volkswagen, Obama, etc we’re all subject to positive and negative perceptions. If you drink too much and hit on your best friend’s girlfriend, that’s bad PR…you jump in front of oncoming traffic to save a little old lady, your stock as a human being goes up. Everything else is somewhere in between. Social networking is a way to effectively manage your own personal brand identity. Facebook allows you to connect. LinkedIn allows you to promote. Twitter allows you to be heard. Never before have individuals been able to so effectively control the message and therefore who they are…and isn’t that what PR…and life…is all about?


PR: The New Priesthood?

January 23, 2009

When I tell people that I’m studying for a career in public relations, I’m invariably asked the same question: “So what kind of job can you get with that?” My usual answer is, “Well, any kind of job.” That’s the great thing about PR. As Al Pacino, playing John Milton/Satan in the film The Devil’s Advocate, once so succinctly stated about being a lawyer, “Because the law, my boy, puts us into everything. It’s the ultimate backstage pass. It’s the new priesthood, baby.” To me, that’s PR. Every industry that’s worth its salt needs to communicate with its publics, and that’s where we come in…it’s the new priesthood, baby!

The thing about learning PR is that there is no right or wrong on answer on how to approach a problem. It’s all about having that common touch…either you got it or you don’t…and building upon it along the way. However, there are a few time-tested ground rules that every practitioner should have in their playbook.

In searching for a useful site about public relations that contained these standard rules, I came across Rohit Bhargava’s excellent (and pertinent) “Influential Marketing Blog“. In his two most recent posts he discusses what it is both PR practitioners and journalists (the PR man’s (and woman’s) most immediate and important audience), should know about themselves and one another. I think Bhargava’s most important lesson, however, is that reputation matters. If words are our stock-in-trade, then reputation is the quality of our goods. Your word is your bond and trust matters, or people won’t be buying whatever it is you’re selling. In this industry, a tarnished reputation is rarely resurrected. On the other hand, a good reputation will not only open doors, it will take you as far as you want, in whatever you want.

I guess maybe that’s the difference between us and lawyers.