BOOK EXCERPT: HYPERCREATIVE PR by Darren Shuster, CEO of Pop Culture PR
Traditional media was always thought to be competitive, underpaid and deadline-driven. These things made it possible for PR writers to more easily “sell” their content. But the media — including social and new media — remain staunchly competitive, wholly underpaid and obsessively deadline-driven.
Well-written, prepackaged, multi-media stories continue to be highly-prized by producers, editors and influencers. It is the perfect time for any self-respecting buzz marketer — there are simply more opportunities to share great content.
In other words, despite a new field and new uniforms, the game itself hasn’t changed. And great story-telling continues to be the name of that mass consumer PR game. The story’s delivery channels have changed but third party endorsements from credible, influential people count more than ever.
Quoted by Mark Hughes in Buzzmarketing, Roger Enrico, former CEO of PepsiCo, said: “…If you want safe advertising with elevator music and pretty pictures, you’ll get what you deserve — ordinary vanilla, not even French vanilla.”
PR Confession #4: A great story at a good time is better than an excellent media contact.
Branded media of any kind have all blended together: online or offline, individual, community or organization, domestic or international, blogs or psuedo-blogs. And the power of mass commucation has become increasingly democratized. As far back as 2009, ABC Spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said: “…When somebody who is well-known to the news audience tweets something, even on a private Twitter account, it has the same impact as ABCNews.com publishing it.”
Technological changes just mean that we all hit different buttons to share and engage with our audience. While micro-blogs and status updates rule the day, the rules and principals of Hypercreative PR appear universal. Headlines are more important than ever. If anything, the entire micro-burst generation has successfully forced all of us to become headline writers and wordsmiths.
A large percentage of the population now gets their news from many of the same news apps and websites, with the same content and headlines appearing thousands of times (with slight variation). Recently, I overheard a woman talking about the following headline: “Obama Draws Criticism For ‘Coffee Cup’ Salute.” This refers to Obama’s half-salute to his security personnel upon arriving at a U.N. meeting in New York City. Other reporters called it the “Starbucks Salute” and the “Latte Salute” and suddenly it became a “Snafu” and a “Controversy” on thousands of news sites. One headline read: “President Obama’s ‘Starbucks Salute’ Brews Discontent.” The BBC jumped in with: “Obama Salute Tempest in a Coffee Cup?”
As I mentioned earlier, the media loves headlines and is clearly having fun with word play surrounding this “controversial” “snafu” and, of course, MSNBC referred to it as “Coffeegate” in one piece.
It was announced in October 2009 that The New York Times was cutting 10-15% of its staff. News holes are vanishing, as the means of distribution are skyrocketing in speed and scope. When it comes to publicity stunts, as Geoff Williams wrote in Entrepreneur: “It’s kind of like dating …There’s a lot of effort involved, and sometimes, there’s some humiliation. But when you’re an entrepreneur competing for the affections of the world, there’s always a new heart and mind to try to win over because attracting customers never ends. So it’s no wonder you want to try to bring in a ton of them by pulling off a marketing stunt.”
New Field. New Uniforms. Old Game.