In traditional, ‘agency’ PR, there’s a well-established technique called ‘piggybacking.’ The idea’s straightforward enough, and is suggested well by the name: x event happens, so we produce comment on it from our client. Sound idea – but invariably terribly badly done Journalists want things they can use to take a story on to the next level, of course they do. Say the Town Hall burns down and the Fire Brigade says that it was caused by faulty wiring. It’s perfectly legitimate for electrical safety consultants to next day go to the press and suggest ways such disasters can be avoided in future – or for, say, insurers to remind us all that it’s always worth protecting yourself against the unexpected, and so on. Unfortunately, in hi-tech at least, what happens is this: Bad Thing Happens. Reporters get 100 emails the next morning – sometimes the same day – saying, ‘Oh, That bad Thing? If only enterprises had bought my
I know I can be a bit feisty in January, so I promise to be more tranquil in February but for now I need to get something off my chest. I have a growing sense of irritation with what I have seen in some really good, tier-one business magazines recently on the topic of content marketing and thought leadership. These guys should know better, but they seem to think they’re the same thing. No they aren’t!!? So our journey begins in resected business Bible Management Today, which lured me in with its promise to tell me ‘Five tips for getting started with thought leadership’ . Now this is a perfectly fine article… after the intro, which makes this assertion: ‘Whether you call it “content marketing” or “thought leadership”…’ Ex-squeeze me? They’re interchangeable? My puzzlement mounted when I then read this in probably the world’s biggest business magazine of them all, America’s (usually) wonderful Forbes. There, I was told yet again
“You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.” Cue horribly dramatic music … nah Cue, instead, please, Mr Frank Skinner’s cheeky Black Country visage, a montage of clips including the infamous moment when Anne Robinson nominated the entire proud nation of the Welsh or Mel and Sue saying the whole (actually, rather lovely) town of Leighton Buzzard was their choice… I am referring, of course, to the amusing BBC show ‘Room 101’ (see its official home here ), where guests are invited to pick their own version of ‘the worst thing in the world’ in to a special sort of imaginary prison. The programme has its roots, of course, in Orwell’s terrible original Room 101, but with, shall we say, a bit of a lighter touch. So, you know. No rats, or stuff.
So. I have finally gone and done it. I have decided to add my voice to the debate that’s raging in the world of business-to-business (B2B) communications and public relations. Why? Maybe I like the sound of my own voice? Quiet at the back there! No. I feel it’s time to step in because I am seeing a ‘war’ happening out there, more so than I have ever seen in my career in IT PR. What sort of war? It’s a ‘turf’ war, one that’s starting to affect clients. There’s a lot of noise and confusion in this war, too, one that isn’t helping anyone… especially technology SMEs who struggle enough to get a fair hearing in the market – and who end up even worse off. What am I on about? It’s the ‘war’ that says communications is now only about the Web and only social, lots of noise about Twitter and LinkedIn – so there is no need