Steve Rubel on Transmedia Storytelling

The walls have fallen. Content is contextual and we’re living more of our days surrounding by a technologically imbued narrative. Tell the stories that matter will yah? To borrow a phrase … just do it.

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The Rise of the Corporate Transmedia Storyteller

Nicholas Carr in his book “The Shallows” argues that the digital deluge is rewiring our brains for less depth. NYU professor Clay Shirky, meanwhile, says in his book Cognitive Surplusthat as more of us become content creators rather than consumers, it’s ushering in a new age of enlightenment.

Regardless of which side of the debate you buy into, one that sees superficiality rising versus another that envisions a new Renaissance, one thing remains clear. Space on the Internet is infinite. Time and attention, meanwhile, remain finite. Therefore, “Digital Relativity” will become a major challenge.

Enter the Transmedia Storyteller.

Even though millions of us are now content producers in some form or another, the reality is there’s still chasm when it comes to quality. There’s art and there’s junk. Audiences want art.

Transmedia Storytelling doesn’t need to be fancy. It can be executed with low budget tools. However, it does need to be thought through. It requires that a business’ subject matter experts know how to simultaneously tell good stories and to do so using text, video, audio and images depending on the venue.

Transmedia storytelling is the future of marketing. And those who can span across formats and share their expertise will stand out in an age of Digital Relativity. There’s a first-mover advantage here. However, it remains to be seen who will grab the ring.


Reading Edelman – Can Someone Help Me Find My Socks?

The brain-trust over at Edelman does it again, does it regularly. Here are some thoughts on the emerging landscape and how traditional business models, and needs fit into the mix. While not all together new, the placement of public relations as a function in the context of the online space is part of a compelling debate that D. Armano (among others) provides insight to, here’s more on that….

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Digital Embassies: A Blueprint For Community Engagement

View more presentations from Edelman Digital.
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Engaging your community. So Call this a blueprint if you will for how you and your organization can think about building and managing multiple embassies in a hyper-connected world
Community Engagement
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Community management is not a new discipline and aspects of it can be traced back to traditional message boards and online forums. These dynamics are evolving and mutating into mainstream activities as powered by large and niche social platforms as well as social “layers” added to digital properties. Community engagement is often limited to moderation which is the minimal form of the activity and the least proactive. The most proactive community engagement combines the activities of “ambassadors” with technology. Best Buy’s Twelpforce, for example combines employee ambassadors with a home-grown management system that tracks employee participation and content creation
Advocacy is one of the end goals of community engagement—it’s the only way to scale it as hiring an endless supply of community managers is not the answer. A disciplined team leveraging the right technology can influence opinions and attitudes of stakeholders resulting in their advocating on behalf of the organization. This is one of the core goals of community engagement and why it’s worth implementing.
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5 Steps Toward Community Engagement
1. Assess Community Needs & Interests
2. Develop Rules For Engagement
3. Identify The Right Managers For Your Community
4. Establish Internal & External Process
5. Step 5, Train Equip & Deploy (T.E.D.)
Where Does Community Engagement Live In Your Organization?
The philosophical answer is everywhere. But if your organization decides to invest in community engagement, it has to fall within the structure somewhere.
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As with any organizational initiative, KPI’s (key performance indicators) and forms of measurement must be put in place. This topic can stand on its own for an entirely separate article, but at a macro level it’s worth noting that measurement should be looked at from a dual purpose. Some metrics are based around a behavioral change. For example, a community manager engaging an unhappy community member who was leaving a stream of negative comments and changing that stream to positive is a behavioral change. Crisis avoidance can have economic implications in the form of cost savings (projecting how much it would have cost the company if the crisis escalated to mainstream media). Advocacy can play a role in both these scenarios. Measurement frameworks for community engagement can start here.
In addition, leveraging tactics such as training and deploying community managers outside of original forums is a natural extension of how the Web is evolving and emulating the physical world.Read more at

Ad Age Presents: Building Brands Online

In a 28 page pdf entitled Building Brands Online Kathryn Koegel shares valuable industry information in a whitepaper for AdAge Insights. Mrs. Koegel provides snap-shots of various areas of marketing at the enterprise level. Issues within planning and measurement make the bulk of the whitepaper which features twenty-two colorful charts. Some of the tid-bits I pulled from reading through it are included here.

The worlds of branding and direct response are the Venus
and Mars of the ad world—or are they? One is all squishy and
emotional, filled with beautiful sentiment that goes straight to
the heart. The other gets right to the point: click, slam, bam,
thank you, ma’am—you’ve just lowered your car insurance or
whitened your teeth.
That’s a gross simplification of how branding and direct
response work, and how they have been irrevocably changed in
the digital age. (pg. 4)

The whole notion of “branding” as some
sort of consumer/product connection/value
system dictated by marketers is not relevant
in the age of ubiquitous media and
consumer control. Interactive media have blown up the very
notion of what a brand is, making it more consumer-involved and
dynamic. Brands can now be direct sellers, content producers,
bloggers, tweeters and even friends without having to rely on
media to deliver those messages. Consumers can seek out those
brands, connect with them through social networks, tweet about
them, and instantaneously let all their friends know what they
think about them or what they plan to buy. (pg. 6)

Anyone looking at the user-growth curve of Facebook must stand in
awe before this latest player in the reach market (see chart 11, P. 12).
Over the past year, the site morphed from a utility for twentysomethings
into a mass-market destination that reaches 42% of
the online population, according to Pew. There are a whole lot of
people out there posting status updates, but is advertising on social
networks the best possible use of this type of communication?
The OPA study on the significance of various types of content
for advertising shows that ads on social networks are not as effective
at driving product sales or even brand searches as other types
of content. Perhaps the environment for social-media ads is akin to
e-mail: so personal and engrossing that ads are not particularly
noticed.To be sure, more research on the topic is needed.
So, if the inventory is not as great in value as content, what is it
good for? Nielsen, which has developed a product in conjunction
with Facebook, called Facebook Brand Lift, points out in its report
Advertising Effectiveness: Understanding the Value of a Social
Media Impression
” that ads on Facebook are better served to generate
brand conversations (see chart 12). The basic point is that
the same creative used to push a message elsewhere may not work
as well in a social environment. “Brand Advocacy” ads, or ads
designed to drive conversation about a brand, are a better way to go. (pg. 13)

But in this technologically and data-driven media world, there’s
still a place for storytelling and connecting values with products
and services. (pg 26)

Check out this and other Ad Age whitepapers at Ad Age Insights.

Why Public Relations Needs Expert SEO

Helping organizations get coverage has long been the function of the public relations department. The work of public relations continues to focus on helping organizations be accessible, respected, and found. Search engine optimization (SEO) continues this tradition as more and more time is spent using the Internet.

Digital PR (or the combination of traditional public relations and SEO) creates a path for would-be public relations professionals in this increasingly wired world we live in. It is the ‘new talent’ that copywriting, influencer-knowing, spot-getting public relations buffs must have. This is part of the ever-evolving bag-of-tricks the public relations professional needs to occupy in order to help organizations they represent – be found.

The more traditional components of a pr professional’s skill-set (i.e. media relations, writing, account management, press releases, story pitches) are being added to as business gets piped around on the Internet. Awareness for emerging technologies, a granular understanding of social networks (and social media), and proven ability to provide SEO consultation add to the traditional talents public relations practitioners need to know.

It’s true that social media too is an essential part of public relations today and in the future – but all most too much to say. I share opinions with others on the matter who suggest in two years we won’t talk about ‘social media’ but we’ll talk again about the roles and functions of departments within an organization. What we call social media today will likely become so entrenched and second-nature that we’ll be able to see past ‘it’ and focus on the function and role ‘it’ plays in the work we perform.

Digital PR and the Next Era of Public Relations

Online newsrooms are a beacon of each organization they represent. Sharing digital assets, link building and connecting publishers with materials for empowerment touch on the value of these new media kits.  Public relations professionals need to understand, and provide  the benefits include placement and increased ‘findability’.

Keyword use is acutely related to publics, as ‘phraseology’ (or the study of the tendency of particular groups to use and/or be identified by homogenous language) is a cornerstone of SEM marketing which maintains a symbiotic relationship with an organization’s website SEO.

Similarly, the Social Media Press Release (SMPR) or the Social Media Release (SMR) is a more than a fandangle darling of the industry. It manages to identify an opportunity and a direction for future developments while paying credence to traditional functions and providing for them a voice in the current and future industry space.

Traditional public relations will not be replaced. In fact, digital pr is but a portion of the role and function public relations continues, and must continue to serve. Providing guidance for relating with others throughout organizations, including the entire gambit of organizational stakeholders is still and will continue to be the role of good public relations. Maintaining relevancy and accessibility is the public relations professional’s job. Understanding SEO is unquestionably a vital part of that role.

As a public relations practitioner myself it is of utmost importance that I equip myself with knowledge and experience for the sake of my clients, and the organizations I might work for. I aim to continue to improve and to grow my understanding of this portion (i.e. SEO) of the field. I seek every opportunity within reason to grow this understanding and look toward the TopRank Blog PRSA International Blog Contest as one more, fantastic hope for delivering for my clients through the SEO insights I might learn there.  (Please pick me!)