Today, I'm going to take a little different direction in Market My Novel. My day job as a social media consultant keeps me busy. Time and again I talk with professionals in the field who have the same problem I do: Getting clients totally on board with today's media. While this is written to more of a business audience, these same concepts apply to authors, too.
Marketing and public relations used to be very different beasts – and the two beasts didn't always play well together.
Marketing was always sales; PR was always news. Marketing departments created symbiotic media campaigns that were specific to TV, newspaper and radio – "Old Guard" mediums with their own set of rules. Public relations pitched and placed stories and op ed pieces with the Old Guard, sometimes coinciding with marketing campaigns, other times filling the void between campaigns.
The departments rarely liked each other – and collaborating efforts was a monumental effort.
They each had their own focus – which was tweaked depending on the Old Guard medium they were dealing with.
The Web has changed all of that.
In today's Web 2.0 society, marketing and public relations have merged into one animal. Mixed in with these professions are relaxed emails, text messages, Twitters, blogs, videos, and podcasts that are more personal than sales pitch.
It isn't about sales and carefully-crafted letters to the editor, or obvious PR news placement. It is about people: creating relationships with real people, talking about real issues, being REAL.
The sales and news pitch just doesn't cut it anymore. For too many years, consumers have been inundated with The Pitch. They've been marketed to death. Now, they want a relationship – not with a company, but with the people who work there, people who have similar interests, similar goals, who are online, networking and just being REAL.
So many businesses just don't get it. They are so tied to the past marketing and PR tactics that the future is flying right past them. By the time they realize the importance of taking off their ties to have a REAL conversation with customers and donors, it will be too late. Competitors who are socializing online will have snagged their customers with a friend request on Facebook, or immediate customer service response via Twitter.
Other companies who are doing it are doing it badly. They do nothing but regurgitate news releases on their blogs, post links to said news releases on Twitter and print online text that has obviously been put through the corporate filter until it says nothing but a standard marketing message that coincides with the corporate-approved PR smiley face.
Ugh. Who wants that?
When I am socializing online – many times with people I have never met face-to-face – I am looking for something REAL. I want to chat with someone who isn't perfect – and isn't muzzled by the Corporate Filter. It's like going to a meeting at Starbucks in my jeans and a nice shirt, rather than wearing the heels, pantyhose, stiff jacket, full make up Corporate Armor for a meeting in the stiff, bland Corporate Meeting Room.
I feel more relaxed at Starbucks, sipping java, eating something with chocolate, chatting it up with friends about everything from work to family to a cool movie I just watched.
In the Corporate Meeting Room, my shoulders are stiff, my mouth is shut and I have to wait for the approved verbal cues before I speak some jibberish that has been filtered through 20 different people. I never really say anything. It is all just drivel.
I guess the reason I am writing is to say, if you are not into Web 2.0, you need to get with the program. The Web isn't going away anytime soon. If anything, the massive amounts of social networks will continue to expand and the number of programs you can use to promote yourselves, your business, your products and your message will explode.
If you finally get out of the 20th century Old Guard, get into the New Guard the right way. Get over this need to control everything. Let the words flow. Brand your message, but be REAL about it. Be REAL with people. Be REAL in what you say. Stop being afraid to speak out – to forgo the Corporate Filter in favor of REAL communication with REAL people (who have money to spend).
Just. Be. REAL.0