Sunday, November 28

Planning For Purpose: Fresh Content Project

When you take a good hard look at the communication landscape today, the fundamental missing ingredient for most companies is a strategic communication plan. After all, if more companies were operating with a communication plan, it seems highly unlikely they would use algorithms to shortcut influence selection, invest more time into "viral" results instead of outcomes, or continue to use the punch list of collateral materials that defined most communication plans three decades ago.

But yet, they do. Companies will only advertise in the Yellow Pages because that is the only place they find clients (probably because that is the only place they advertise), fall prey to online algorithm schemes (foregoing homework for scorekeeping), and dumping quality content in favor of gimmicks meant to fool spiders into directing people toward their content. All of it is largely symptomatic of operating without a plan, which is why these five fresh picks might make you think beyond the quick fixes.

Best Fresh Content In Review, Week of November 8

• Five Things PR And Marketing Should Break Free From In 2011.
Three of the five suggestions from Priya Ramesh, not surprisingly, are printed: Yellow Pages, newsletters, and brochures. She has a point. The digital editions of such communication devices are more engaging and less wasteful, which is why she concludes that traditional press releases and meetings without purpose could go too. While I might argue that some of these seemingly dated communication vehicles sometimes have a time and place, the real takeaway from Ramesh is to reconsider the company's communication. The days when every company must have this, that, or the other thing are long gone.

Klout Versus Reality.
The most popular "influence" measurement device online is Klout despite the shortcomings of the service. It continues to receive praise and accolades from a handful of people intent on elevating their "activity" scores on Twitter (and optionally, Facebook). Klout has also done a masterful job at marketing, sucking companies into offering "rewards" across the server. According to Klout, it measures actionable items. However, the service mostly measures frequency. The more time you spend on the service, the more "influence" you supposedly have. Geoff Livingston offers up a host of other problems.

Destined To Obscurity.
Ike Pigott calls it partly right. Too much of the Web is based on little more than vanity measures and spiders. Quality has very little to do with what becomes popular on the net. Sure, sometimes quality bubbles to the surface, but the primary reasons to communicate — to inform, persuade, teach, and inspire — are often trumped by searches and reciprocal sharing (networks of people who share whatever people who share their stuff share). And, as more people embrace the content creation of crap, quality tends to be buried at the bottom. It was the very reason we started this project.

• Why Social Media Marketing For Foreign Languages Is Vital.
Guest writer Christian Arno shares an interesting study that suggests 83 percent of marketers are planning to increase their spending on social media, but only 26 percent plan to run campaigns in more than one country. The survey is shocking when you think about it, given that the Internet is has a population that far exceeds the reach of one country. While proximity marketing can be smart, planning to attract people from other countries can be smarter. Or, at least, removing some of the barriers. You cannot establish a presence online without thinking outside the imaginary boundaries that separate people.

• Humanizing Business & Brands: Your Ambassador Ecosystem.
There was plenty of push back related to a post by David Armano, given the abundance of name dropping and plug for his company's trust barometer gizmo. But if you look past all that, the models make sense in that they aim to provide a framework for the communication operations of a company. In many cases, companies don't have to adopt one or the other, but it does seem to me that companies ought to be taking more care in mapping out their communication models as part of their communication plans. Of course, we all know that most companies have no communication plan, but we can dream.
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