Barbara Cave Henricks and Rusty Shelton are long time PR pros. Barbara is president of Cave Henricks Communications. She has spearheaded campaigns for some of the biggest names in business today including Jack Welch, Tom Rath, Ram Charan, Larry Bossidy, Maria Bartiromo, and Marcus Buckingham. Rusty is the CEO of Shelton Interactive, he leads one of the country’s fastest-growing digital marketing and PR agencies. I spoke with them recently about their brand new book, Mastering the New Media Landscape: Embrace the Micromedia Mindset.
Q. What prompted you to write this new book?
A. The dramatic shift in the way media is created and consumed cried out for new definitions and new strategies. We wanted to move the discussion away from traditional versus social media and take a broader, more holistic view—examining earned, owned and rented media and considering how each category affects another. This comprehensive view allows anyone with a message to share to be more effective when communicating. It’s a different media world, and it calls for a different set of tools and methods to use it effectively and create value.
Q. What is micromedia?
A. Micromedia is a broad term for a new breed of media created by companies, brands and individuals and housed on an online channel in public view. Literally anyone with access to a smartphone or computer and an Internet connection has the ability to become a content provider. From personal blogs to corporate sites that invite fans to contribute, micromedia outlets are gaining significance as they grow large audiences and begin to sway public opinion. They represent a new way for messages to be spread without the control of traditional media gatekeepers.
Q. How has micromedia changed the way the public perceives brands?
A. When used correctly, micromedia enables brands to tell their own story, to reach their audience in new, appealing ways that feel authentic to their core messages, and to create a thriving community of followers and friends. Coca-Cola, for instance, has harnessed the power of micromedia by encouraging fans to share their “Coca-Cola Journey” via selfies that feature the product. BMW has taken another terrific approach, connecting its community of proud Mini Cooper owners in the Mini Owners’ Lounge, much like Harley-Davidson did years ago with HOG (Harley Owners Group).
But while micromedia can be used to build brands and create a positive public perception, it can also achieve the opposite when used as a “me-first” platform.
Q. How can people use micromedia to build a direct channel to their audience that they own and control?
We are no longer operating in an era where organizations and individuals can rely on top-down messaging, advertising, or even those mythical silver bullet media hits in the earned space to build an owned audience. Instead, brands and individuals must think creatively about how to use opportunities in earned and rented media to pull an audience to their owned space.
One of the most effective ways to do this is through a call to action. At the end of an interview, post or byline, offer something of value on your owned real estate to draw the audience there. Whether it’s an online assessment or quiz, the chance to share a personal story or to receive a complementary offering, these calls should be used to turn the visitor into a customer or client. Be prepared to give away something of value in exchange for an email address which you can then use to continue communication.
Q. If readers took away only one thing from Mastering the New Media Landscape, what do you hope that would be?
A. Your online platform is very often your first impression. People are vetting you online if they are considering buying something from you. They are vetting you online if they are meeting you for coffee. And journalists are most definitely vetting you online. A joint study conducted by George Washington University and Cision, a media database company, shows that over half of all journalists look online as they report stories, with 89 percent combing through blogs, 65 percent going to social networking sites like LinkedIn and 52 percent searching Twitter.
Your personal brand is what Google says it is.
Be certain you are controlling that first impression.
Thanks Barbara and Rusty!
You can find out more about their new book at www.masteringthenewmedialandscape.com.