PR in the Long Tail

In hispost, “Long Tail PR: how to do publicity without a press release (or the press),” ChrisAnderson asks “But what of the Long Tail of media–all those new influentials, from the micromedia of Techcrunch and Gizmodo to individual bloggers? And the social news aggregators like Digg and our own Reddit? They’re where the most powerful sort of marketing–word of mouth–starts, but most of them don’t want to hear from a PR person at all.”

Exactly. Who wants to hear from the stereotype PR person whether it’s in the long tail or anywhere else for that matter? Anyone (including PR and internal community managers) can engage directly using any number of the existing and yet-to-be announed social tools, but, make no mistake, traditional PR/publicity will still be required to reach others currently not particpating in “social media” a term of which I use loosely.

Chris Anderson's Long Tail

It’s absolutely all about expanding PR in a “way that both works in a conversational medium and doesn’t demean and insult the intelligence of everyone involved” as he summized.

In the long tail, most don’t want to hear from a PR person at all. This is PR’s opportunity to stop acting like “PR” and become experts on the products/services they represent (which should be common sense anyway) in order to help companies engage in conversations as well. At this level, the outreach is far too great for any one person to manage.

By sparking conversations using a well constructed, on target SMR, blogs, video, etc., will hopefully entice the first rank of bloggers to help carry the message, which will in turn ignite conversations in the long tail. But, we all need to keep in mind that one umbrella message doesn’t work across the spectrum. The longtail is comprised of groups which require individual attention to specifically address the unique needs of different people.

At the end of the day, Idocumented theconversations to spotlight why we all need to pay attention to the people formerly known as the audience (courtesy Jay Rosen) and how to start transparent, genuine conversations.

It all starts with real dialogue to learn about the needs of customers first-hand and how to reach them every step throughout the product lifecycle.

But good or new or smart or in-touch PR (for lack of a better term) still has a role in helping companies, and community managers, learn, engage, and build. It’s just a different way to do the right thing with the technology (social tools) at hand. For a primer on the difference between social media and social tools, please read Stowe Boyd’s post at BlueWhale Labs blog.

Perhaps it’s no longer PR at this point, but truly more about honest Public Relations – but even still, “public” reminds me of audience, and we all know how social media experts feel about that term.

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ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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