Whether you’re a PR or marketing specialist, popularity isn’t a prerequisite to exert influence in the digital age – not when valuable contacts are listed within databases and newswires. Instead, you need to be smart, tech-savvy and flexible.
Countless channels of communication have opened up that completely bypass the need for contacts. Demand for online content has skyrocketed, with the global number of bloggers expected to reach a total of 31.7 million by 2020. This has significantly boosted visual media consumption, with online video viewers rising to 236 million. From social media to SEO, the right knowledge and skills to manipulate self-published content are a must.
Internet 2.0 created a global platform of open communication. The neural firings of society’s brainpower are outpouring into the digital landscape with an ever-flowing stream of ideas. It’s easy to feel stranded amongst a sea of binary code, but the beauty of our established connectivity is the ability for individuals to turn ideas into waves.
It’s important to remember that inclusivity is hard built into the web’s infrastructure. Individual personalities and the ideas they project shape current trends, consumer demands, and culture.
Being heard in a space full of vocal communicators requires an understanding of topical discussions; you need to utilise the existing channels and become part of the conversation. A large part of the capital gained online is cultural rather than financial, and the most popular blogs and influencers are easily contactable and eager to be contacted. Once you’re connected, the floodgates are open.
With marginal costs reaching lows that are effectively zero, digital content has a huge advantage over traditional printed media with clear readership metrics. This by no means renders print media redundant – both mediums are equally approachable.
Some of the internet’s biggest names are represented solely as individuals and this provides a unique opportunity for PR & Marketing representatives without an established contact list. There’s an online personality for almost any niche and they’re not restricted by media networks. Instead, many online personalities are free to message, with some publicly advertising their email contacts. This is particularly true of YouTubers, even those with 100’s of thousands of subscribers.
At Grammatik, we utilise these open channels of communication to gain access to industry experts in motion capture – the process of recording movement digitally to create CGI characters for film and TV. Collating data from these conversations, we subsequently charted an extensive history of mocap. The team then compressed this information into an easily digestible infographic—the first of its kind—for Animatrik, successfully pitching and publishing the image to relevant press. This is a great example of a campaign that produces informative and interesting content that individuals and (industry) experts can value, all while using the open tools available to everyone.
Attempting to establish a consistent online presence is a no brainer for most marketers that are wired into the digi-verse, but there’s a strong place for traditional media in any campaign. A well-rounded representation will naturally engage with the largest audience and thanks to the steady rise of digital media, traditional press has become equally open source.
For the modern marketer, huge press databases such as Cision have removed the barrier to entry. With one keyword search, a user can find publications from around the world and a list of their associate writers and editors. There are no restrictions on who to contact, with information on preferential writing topics and publication history—including for some of the largest publications and journalists—available to all users to fine-tune their search. Tools like this have reshaped the culture of “who you know” into something closer to: “Who can you know?” With this in mind, there’s no limit to the prestige of press available.
Communication through narrative
It’s easy to forget the importance of “narrative” when pitching and creating content for all forms of media. A famous research project by Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn, named “Significant Objects,” used the idea of storytelling to sell various objects online with great success. It follows then, that for many, presenting information in a way that illustrates a relatable story will have a greater impact; we’re hardwired to think like this.
To hit big with a story, it needs to grab the attention of the reader with content that is anchored in reality. There’s no doubt that stylish and readable prose is imperative to a successful piece of writing, but the trope of “style without substance” is ever-apparent in all published media. How does this affect the reader’s life? What does this say about the subject’s industry? How did it begin, and where will it go? These are examples of questions that matter to readers and customers. If you can take a person on a journey, the product will become retainable in the future through a personalised attachment. This is equally true of video formats, which likewise require a strong narrative to stand out and become memorable. If it’s a good story, it will float, if not, it sinks into a sea of content.
We launched a successful campaign for Cospective, producing a reel that showcased the use of cineSync in the production of Blade Runner 2049. The aim was to create a video that demonstrated Territory’s stunning work on Ridley Scott’s dystopia, while also exploring cineSync’s strength as a remote collaboration tool. By creating a narrative that intertwined the production efforts, the story of the film, and the importance of cineSync, the product became grounded in a much broader category of interest.
PR professionals—both established and starting out—have the right tools for the job. It’s up to them to take a proactive and positive approach to their marketing campaigns. With content taking the mainframe, utilising the open connectivity of digital media will create limitless opportunities for communicating fresh ideas.