Channel your inner general

Navigating the digital battleground requires tactical thinking and mobilisation on all fronts.

I couldn't agree more with Amanda Brown that it is about 'talking to customers in an environment where they are choosing to communicate'. Modern digital marcoms demands that you up your game across all channels and media. The best marcoms teams are using video, search, blogs, Twitter, sFacebook, image sharing, live streaming, apps - the list goes on. Some may see it as overkill, but I don't think it is - everyone has their own preferences for receiving information and there is ever-intensifying competition to cut through the noise.

Because you should be exploiting multiple channels and media doesn't mean you should spend all your time grappling with technology. The focus must be on the content, the messaging and the conversation. Skilled communicators should not get weighed down or daunted by the number of tools. Mynewsdesk gives communicators an intuitive platform for PR and brand engagement, which makes it easy to manage a social media newsroom - similar to First Direct's - while also providing analytics on content, so you can adapt your comms strategy in real time, based on which channels are performing best.

Being comfortable communicating in the way your customer chooses applies equally to journalists, bloggers and other influencers. Different modes of communication are effective with different people at different times. It's only by experimenting with formats and by listening to and measuring responses that a comms team can develop an understanding of what resonates with their audiences.

Twitter gives communicators a unique insight into how stories are formed, develop and spread. It also offers us a hotline to influencers, provided we appreciate the etiquette and that every Twitterer has their own way of doing things. Facebook gives brands a publishing platform with the potential to dwarf the reach of a national newspaper. But communicators are still learning about which types of content will deliver this potential - what is most shareable, most 'like'-able and most worthy of comment.

Getting in front of a video camera as often as possible is something we preach to our clients and also try to practise ourselves. Video can be exceptionally engaging, especially if you avoid the obvious and try to reveal more of your brand's true personality.

There are issues to overcome when working out what to do with each channel and which department owns each. We have to understand the unique benefits of each channel, while keeping content and messaging cohesive for our audiences, who do not divide themselves up by channel.

Mynewsdesk helps achieve this by creating a single platform. Journalists, bloggers and anyone else using our service can follow companies or organisations as on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. The difference is that if you follow a brand on Mynewsdesk, you will get updates on the full spectrum of news, whether via press releases, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, video, images or a combination. You can also follow specific categories or keywords to get updates from companies in a sector.

When it comes to corporate reputation online, communicators have to think like generals - mobilising influencers, executing tactical manoeuvres across social media, and gauging who controls the battleground through search rankings and social media monitoring. At Mynewsdesk we provide a command centre. If the intelligence is good, the lines of communication are reliable in both directions and the targeting is accurate, your mission can be accomplished.


Do you see a distinction between your personal and professional use of social media?

Twitter is my professional voice. I share information and it's an important news source and helps me form opinions. Facebook is for my private network. I use LinkedIn for keeping in touch with professionals and the groups help me gain industry knowledge. I read blogs to keep up with thought leaders.

Which film title best sums up the spirit of your agency?

The Big Easy! Big, because we're creating a global network for communicators and influencers. Easy, because everything we do has simplicity at its heart.

Heidi Noemm is country manager UK at Mynewsdesk.



From PRWeek's Digital thought leader supplement November 2011

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