Perspectives

In the course of the hundreds of formation skydiving jumps I did and competing at two national championships, I learned a few lessons that I now apply professionally in business communications.  For people who's only exposure to skydiving is the movie 'Point Break', it may come as a surprise that it's not like that at all.  Don't expect to exit an aircraft and 'naturally' get it right.  Skydivers proportionately spend a lot of time preparing for jumps to get them right - to stack the odds in favor of getting a complex 3D maneuver come together and work.  Because screwing up has real and immediate consequences, skydivers have developed simple, easy-to-remember best practices that have given the sport a good track record for safety despite the inherent risk.  These best practices translate effectively to crisis communications. 

b2ap3 large Search Traffic Position Pie ChartContent marketing can be a very effective method to boost the visibility of an organization and strengthen business outcomes.  In a world in which specialization is an increasing fact of life, the terms and phraseology that may be common to one group is often gibberish to others. 'Content marketing' is an example by itself.  It's a term web, SEO and digital marketers will be familiar with but may mean nothing to people outside the communications and marketing field.  It basically means using content posted to the web to grow an organization's visibility and rank with search engines like Google, Bing, etc.  Acronyms are also often industry specific, so 'SEO' stands for 'Search Engine Optimization', which is getting web pages ranked as highly as possible by search engines.  Content marketing uses the specialized language common to an industry sector or service niche and turns it into an asset for web marketing, showcasing an organization's strengths and capabilities and why clients should do business with them.  

"75% of PR agency owners don't know much about social media"  That's a headline from a recent PR industry survey showing the extent to which social media is impacting some of the traditional ways of doing business.  The survey highlights how 90% of Public Relations owners don't believe social media will replace traditional print and broadcast media, but simultaneously assert that 78% say it's important to offer social media services. 

Pitching a campaign with a social media component tacked on doesn't work.  It isn't culturally sustainable, and can create and expose brand and messaging dissonance with consumers and stakeholders. Tweets say this, practice says that. New media has consequences for organizations who are being caught flat-footed at the speed with which conversations can evolve and communications should be organized - to use a military phrase - to fight today's war, not the last one.