As a greedy preschooler, I was often admonished to share with my sisters. Bringing a pack of chewing gum to elementary school inevitably brought forth the daunting refrain from the teacher: “Did you bring enough to share with everyone?” Of course not, it was my hard-earned nickel that provided me with five foil-wrapped sticks of Juicy Fruit, not theirs.
Sharing, it turns out, is a learned social behavior.
Fast forward to my days in the corporate world. I found out rather quickly that corporate lawyers were as bad at sharing information as I was at sharing my Juicy Fruit. The legal department mantra was “only divulge what we are required to divulge…and not much of that.”
Corporate lawyers, it turns out, are trained to protect themselves and their clients against any perceived risk. The problem arises when the legal department controls communications instead of the communications department. When that's the case, “no comment” becomes the default response – the ultimate public relations error.
Fast forward to today. The sharing of information has exploded exponentially as social networks have grown. This is not just a trend; it's a fact of life. There will be more sharing, not less. Those who don't share information will be left behind by competitors that do.
Integration, in the communications sense, means selecting, optimizing, and integrating the best communications strategy to help clients reach their goals. And that means integrating the various tools at our disposal to ensure success.
Today's PR professional must employ a holistic approach that integrates marketing and sales channel strategies with branding, messaging, web design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), print design, video, and media relations. Corporations must participate in the ongoing conversation about their industry and their company via blog posts, web content, tweets, bylined articles, white papers, trade shows, seminars, speaking opportunities, community relations outreach, and more – or be left out of the conversation.
Communication integration, unlike the quantitative approach to SEO, focuses on high-quality, engaging content, not keyword-heavy copy that is aimed more toward web crawlers than humans. Influencing how content is discovered, used, and shared is the key. In my next blog, I'll give you some examples.
Reg Rowe is SVP at Idea Grove.