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Big Trends Done Quickly

Keith over at PRWeek asked for some thoughts on the most important trend, tool, service, company, or whatever will be in the second half of 2006. Here are my quick thoughts done late at night and on the fly. Caveat – when it comes to predictions I am normally wrong… Let me know your thoughts…

  1. Trend: Communities and their citizen editors reassembling the fragmented media and conversation space creating powerful micro channels to which millions flock.
  2. Company : The one with the biggest community. Think Nike, Apple, VW, Lego. …ok, so I wimped out… Apple if they can integrate the iPod, video and phone fully. And Microsoft – the degree to which key technologies such as RSS is implemented in IE7, Vista and Office 2007 is fantastic.
  3. Technology : The Wiki & Community creation platform (think FiveAcross).
  4. Service: SixApart, (TypePad, Vox). And, Dabble db – finally we can build our own applications in real-time! And iTunes – what AP/PR Newswire was to the press release, iTunes is to the Podcast.
  5. Person: . The blogger, podcaster, vcaster and participatory communicator.

Saying all that… some expanded thoughts… No company matters as much as the community. Communities are ascending as defining force. Nike matters less to me as a soccer fan than the Nike community Joga.com. The companies that matter to consumers will be those with rich communities. Other thoughts on what might happen:

  1. Fortune 500 corporations hire their first “conversationalists” – staffers dedicated not to transmitting information (PR) but rather, igniting conversations.
  2. Media continues to fragment and reassemble around citizen editors.
  3. PR continues its rapid evolution from transmission of content to igniting conversations.
  4. Measurement takes a backseat to monitoring as communicators efforts to keep track of the blogosphere and citizen media kick into overdrive. In background mode, measurement practioners start working on new metrics that track participation. (There is an absolute difference between monitoring and measurement).
  5. Major agencies launch new press release formats, following hot on the heels of tech boutique Shift. BusinessWire and PRNewswire wake from their slumber and assemble these fragmented efforts into a compelling Web 2.0 offerings.
  6. Having discovered the power of technology to add value to their clients, major agencies step-up their efforts with branded RSS readers carrying highly customized content to audiences and customers.
  7. As media fragmentation accelerates, media planning starts to raise its head as a critical communications function. Once the purview of advertising departments, communications practioners deliver media planning as a means of hunting and communicating with elusive audiences.
  8. More than half the PR profession is still in catch-up mode. They don’t listen to podcasts, use RSS readers or blog. Therefore, the most important technology isn’t the technology, it’s the adoption of it which will continue to accelerate.
  9. The Wiki & Web 2.0 technologies such as Writely and Dabble db. They will change the way PR practitioners work internally and share with clients. I’m using Quickbase today – which is pretty expensive but very good.
  10. OMPL files finally start getting integrated into marketing offerings.

4 Responses

  1. By John on July 18th, 2006 at 6:09 am

    Uh oh, Andy. You’d better watch out or the PR measurement police will be after you! 🙂

  2. By Dave Armon on July 19th, 2006 at 12:23 pm


    What’s that? Oh, yes, it’s time to awake from my slumber to acknowledge that Andy is right about PR Newswire re-tooling itself for the world of consumer generated media.

    SEO (in 2004): The partnership PR Newswire forged with search advertising giant iCrossing allowed us to turbo-charge news releases with SEV (Search Engine Visibility) in 2004, first as an add-on service and then, in 2005, as an automatic element in our premium US1 newsline. So D2C marketers using PR Newswire now enjoy a window into which key words are driving traffic to their releases through Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines.

    DEL.ICIO.US (pre-Yahoo acquisition): All news releases distributed via PR Newswire were adorned with the del.icio.us icon more than seven months ago. We are not auto-populating del.icio.us. Rather, we worked directly with Joshua Schacter to install the button as a convenience to readers compelled to bookmark news releases they may have found via prnewswire.com, news portals, Yahoo, Google, etc. The tagging has gone well beyond the typical trade industry categories we had been using to classify releases.

    TECHNORATI (late 2005): We’ve been paying close attention to Technorati data on blog traffic and allowing influential bloggers to gain access to out feature-packed PR Newswire for Journalists site, which contains hundreds of additional RSS feeds.

    SOCIAL MEDIA PRESS RELEASES: We’ve publicly praised Shift PR’s Todd Defren for his foresight in creating a roadmap for news release issuers to follow. And we were proud Todd chose to utilize a Multimedia News Release from PR Newswire to officially launch his Social Media Press Release template. For DIYers capable of assembling all the right elements in XML, the template will leapfrog static, text-only releases. For PR pros without a computer science degree, we’ll take Andy Lark’s cue (along with a double espresso to prevent the dreaded slumber) and continue to make PR Newswire’s services fully compliant with Web 2.0, 3.0 and beyond. Between our ProfNet experts service and our MultiVu video skunkworks, we certainly have the elements in-house to make news releases come alive.

    I’m hearing snoring. My post is too long, so I’m guessing somebody other than PR Newswire is slumbering now.

  3. By andylark on July 19th, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    Dave, you ought to figure out how to a) tell your customers and b) stimulate adoption. Right now your customers don’t know (for the most part) and have no idea how to procure these services from you. I’m speaking here as a longtime customer and someone that polls about 200 PR people a month on what they are getting from the newswire services. You are the tree falling in the forest… nobody heard it fall… Or, in marketing terms, what you don’t promote you don’t do.

    And frankly, what you are doing so far barely scratches the surface in terms of Web 2.0.

  4. By Jim Caruso on July 19th, 2006 at 9:54 pm

    This is insightful and well-considered. My only concern is the authenticity of “conversationalists” and the “ignited conversations” – an issue with even traditional media relations and PR. The interaction between PR staff and the audience must be meaningful – or else the staffer is just a distributor of information and not able to spark a conversation with the audience (reporters/editors or prospects/customers). A common issue with PR staff, internal or agency, is speaking in the “language” of the audience. The ability to pitch a story (traditional PR) is this sames ability to ignite the conversation onilne (given the tech savvy).

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