Journalists and consumers are tuning out marketing and using Google as a big open book.
Steve Rubel of Edelman Digital observes that marketers have largely focused on reaching stakeholders through ‘push’ media — paid and earned media. But now that Google dominates, it’s equally important for communicators focus on ‘digital discoverability.’ Organizations and communicators must create content that people will “pull” through search engines and social networks.
In his white paper “Five Digital Trends to Watch for In 2009,” Rubel says the greatest reward will go to those who create dynamic content at a regular frequency that is discussed, remixed, and linked to by other high-quality sources online.
Organizations should build relationships with their publics by creating what Rubel calls ‘digital embassies’ and ‘digital ambassadors.’ As people spend time inside social networks, organizations must go where the people are to build relationships. But before jumping into social media, understand where your stakeholders spend time and what they do there.
Today all media is social, and all social is media, Rubel says. It used to be that journalists were on one side, bloggers on the other. No more. Yet many, particularly in PR, still treat ordinary citizens, traditional journalism, and branded content as distinct islands of media. It’s best to see them as a contiguous archipelago connected by a bridge called Google.
With the increasing popularity of sites that aggregate content, there’s tremendous value in serving as a digital curator of quality content, just as there’s a role for museum curators who separate “art” from “junk.”
Google is much more than a search engine, Rubel says: It’s also media. Every day people make business and life decisions based on what they find on Google. This includes consumers and journalists as well. As a result, communicators should prioritize media targets based on their ability to influence Google search results, rather than just reach.
Many corporate blogs focus too much on their products and services. According to Forrester Research, only 16% of online consumers who read corporate blogs say they trust them. Rubel says a better approach is to use blogs as a way to build communities that connect customers and corporate all-stars around shared passions.