The mobile web is essentially ubiquitous at the point. We have access to nearly any piece of information we need in most of our pockets. We can watch baseball games, record a video and bash egg thieves with Angry Birds.

As communications professionals, how we put our messages together for the mobile Web is essential. How we craft strategies to tell our stories and create media that utilizes the mobile platform matters. Only 15 months after its launch, mobile text messaging platform textPlus announced that more than 3.5 billion messages had been sent.

According to a recent Comscore report, 81.7% of mobile users in Europe sent a text message in June, 2010. In Japan, 75.2% of mobile users browsed the internet, accessed applications or downloaded content from their mobiles. In the table below, you can see the most popular destinations mobile users access from a mobile device.

Top Mobile Social Networking/Chat/Blog Brands in Japan, United States and EU5 (UK, DE, FR, ES and IT) by Audience Size

June 2010 Total Mobile Audience Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens

Japan United States Europe
Mixi Facebook Facebook
Gree MySpace YouTube
Twitter YouTube MSN / Windows Live / Bing
Mobage Town Twitter Twitter

So, where does this leave us? It leaves us needing to develop strategies for utilizing the mobile Web as a communications channel.

SMS: Simple Messaging Solutions

At this week’s BlogWorld Expo, I will be a part of a panel with special guests Kenny Hyder, who has years of experience in SEO and mobile optimization, and Dave Fleet, VP of Digital at Edelman Toronto. We will be discussing the importance of mobile content for bloggers and in the communications industry.

There are three factors to consider when assembling a mobile plan: content, accessibility and integrated strategy.

Smart phone apps limit the interaction with the Web as a whole, so the need is to create content that is easily portable, easily found. This content is brief, to the point and actionable (yes, I know this post is more than 500 words…). It conveys your message and messaging but is also portable and gives the reader a reason to act and share the content.

But getting that content found is becoming more of a challenge. Applications that are single-purpose have limited our interaction with the broader Web. Having an understanding of search, accessibility and the ability to drive actions through a mobile device will help us create integrated strategies that provide value to a wide network of readers.

Global mobile Web

XKCD Map of the social system

XKCD made this map to show the relative scale of various social networks. The various social networks occupy how we interact. But the real impactful part of this is in the detail in the upper left. Spoken language is still about 90% of our interactions. But in most of the world, SMS is the number one form of digital communication. Email still trumps all, but even that is just a portion of our communications.

Spoken language is still about 90% of our interactions.

Photo from XKCD social universe graphic. The more we isolate ourselves on the islands of Twitter or the Bay of Flame in the blogosphere, the more of a disservice we are doing to those that our content could reach.

Being aware of how we tell our stories and how we integrate the multiple technologies that surround us to tell those stories will make our communications strategies that much more effective.

Posted in PR

I’ve been thinking a bit about my career, what I want to accomplish and what sort of trajectory I have launched myself on. A few things, we’ll call them goals, keep bubbling in my head of what I want. What I hope to accomplish. Set long-term public relations goals.

I’ve already accomplished a lot. Placements in major tech blogs, video interviews with major outlets, numerous speaking placements and other opportunities. But in my head, I know there’s more. More opportunities to grow my skills and to benefit whichever client I am working with.

We talk a lot in PR about goals, metrics and other tangible benefits. But these are usually immediate or short term at best. How many hits will this pitch get? How many people will click this link? How many new followers did we get? I think it’s equally important to consider long-term personal and professional goals.

So, I thought I’d put some of mine out there. The only order they’re in is top of mind:

  • Cover story on: Newsweek, New York Times, Wall St. Journal, USA Today, Time and Wired
  • Asked to contribute to a book on digital media.
  • Running an account team and guiding it to helping the client realize a bump in revenue and exceeding all other metrics
  • Similar to above, lead a campaign that doubles the metrics set in the plan’s goal
  • Keynote a conference
  • Master the art of metrics
  • Lead a new business pitch for a global 100 account
  • Win a peer-nominated and peer-voted award

Some of those might be a bit of a stretch, others are pretty achievable. I’d love to hear more about your goals. Do you differentiate between short and long-term goals?

Sure, you are your own brand, but how do people view you? Most of us have seen the “three words to describe me” emails/facebook messages, but what matters is how you want to be perceived. Sometimes, the most important story you tell as a PR pro is your own.

I am currently working with the latest group of interns at the office. Some of the brightest young minds in PR (Seriously, I’m intimidated) are jumping face first into the world of PR and digital media. I got to meet with them today and we talked a bit about the importance of how you are perceived by your peers and the influencers you work with.

Brand your personality

Yes, I know, we don’t like the phrase “personal branding.” But it works. We know what it means, so I’m going to use it. If every interaction you have with an influencer is a pitch, how does that affect all future interactions? I think that it is important that a PR pro’s relationship with an influencer, from Kara Swisher to a hyper-local news blog, be symbiotic.

If both parties are benefiting, then the relationship is much more productive. This is especially crucial in direct-to-consumer efforts when you may be working directly with an influencer throughout an event or media tour. Your personality becomes one of the most important aspect of your professional repertoire.

Be yourself

I do my best to be myself around an influencer that I will be working with in the future. But what else can you do to help maintain your place in the wide world of PR? Here’s my ideas:

  • Walk the walk. Start a blog, learn about SEO, go shopping, become a PR Geek. The point is if you share the passion and excitement of a product you want your influencer to share with his or her audience, it will be far easier to tell that story.
  • Be seen. Get out and meet the people you want covering your clients. Be part of the community. Be active and engage with them.
  • Be genuine. Hopefully you end up representing clients you like and getting involved is easy. On the off chance you are stretching yourself daily, I think that sometimes it is OK to admit you are learning the space or learning the products and admit you are not an expert.
  • Reach out and touch somebody. Once you establish a relationship. Maybe it was a successful placement of a pitch; could have been a cocktail hour. Whatever the start was, it is up to you as the PR pro to continue the relationship. Tweet them, comment on posts and maybe even give a phone call.
  • Have an opinion. In this industry, it is important to be forward thinking and it’s not OK to put that opinion out there. Start a blog or even ask me (or somebody far more popular) if you can guest post.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the type of persona you think a PR pro should have. Tell me in the comments and let me know!

The way we as a collective society interface with data has fundamentally stayed the same through the generations: We have to search for it. In the past, this has meant opening an encyclopedia, learning the Dewey Decimal system or even running an experiment. But today, we have exabytes of information that a few select outlets have access to: Bing, Google, and other niche websites.

As public relations professionals, part of our job is to monitor and influence our clients’ reputation. All one needs to do is set up a news or blog alert for “Insert client name here” sucks. In no time you will see a constant flow of detractors, fanboys of competitors and the occasional piece of valuable feedback. I had the good fortune to spend a day at SMX Advanced, a conference put on by Search Engine Land, which is a top influential outlet in the search space. The conference is focused at SEO/SEM/PPC, but there were some tremendous nuggets for PR as well. Continue reading

I read this post that has essentially single-handedly convinced me that the AP Style guide is just that. A guide. You see, while going through journalism school, I treated it like scripture. The grammar, spelling and capitalization guide of the journalists deities.

But since then, I’ve softened my stance. And now I am fully prepared to acknowledge that its email (not e-mail), website (mot Web site) and that I have to type out Washington.

Yes, I am finally entering the modern era. Read on for the post from April that helped push me over the edge…

Continue reading

Posted in PR