"The Communications pro of the future must be a master of three important disciplines: Radical Listening, Social Influence, and Perpetual Beta. Within each are new practical skills that will define the true PR master — the next generation ‘”trusted advisor.” "


The following is the third in a series on the skills of the communications professional circa 2010:

Engagement Marketing

The word “engagement” has been overused as we all try to find a vocabulary to describe a shift towards a more participatory role with customers. As brands we are either facilitating customer-to-customer participation or jumping in ourselves to take part when that makes sense. Engagement means an openness and directness, as well as, involved. But what about “marketing?” Isn't that the other side of the house? Isn't that what they do over there? Not anymore. Communications pros must be able to plan and execute programs that depend upon the interrelation of many disciplines and certainly those we clump into the marketing and communications buckets.

  1. Create integrated marketing and communications strategy
    Earned and paid media can have a compound effect when integrated well. We can take the lead on understanding and planning for integration.
  2. Operate engagement programs not just deliver messages
    Engagement programs deliver some intrinsic value to the influencer. They earn their attention and hopefully their advocacy because we thought long and hard about what they would get out of our relationship. That is different than delivering messages to a hungry media ecosystem.
  3. Practice social media relations & crisis management
    Things move pretty fast in social media especially when a crisis appears. Social media relations is a nuanced difference from traditional media relations. It is more “hands-on” and requires a commitment to relationship building.
  4. Design and deploy advanced search engine optimization
    Search engine optimization (SEO) is fundamental to PR. We need to stop deferring that work to technologists and start driving that work.
  5. Manage communities
    From customers to enthusiasts, relevant brand communities are springing up everywhere. Rather than treat community management as the ancient art of the Well or AOL, we need to embrace the advocacy power of communities.  When do we build and when do we become part of an existing community?
  6. Create and execute multimedia content strategy
    We no longer tell our stories via text. We must become masters of multimedia storytelling and then distributing those stories in the most efficient platforms available from YouTube to Flickr and more.
  7. Model performance metrics for paid and earned media programs
    Are we winning or are we losing? We need to know that immediately upon being in-market with a program. We need new performance metrics that understand word of mouth via social media and make it possible to judge performance now.

Useful "engagement" resources:

Social IRM - Influencer Relationship Management Pt 2

Best Practice Disclosure: What Brands Should Do (and Why)

Building Authentic Customer Communities: American Express & Meetup

The Idea Bar (Engagement Ideas)

Conversation Impact Social Media Measurement Model by Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence

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