Approximately, 50% of what you read in the media now bubbles up from the bottom, and 50% of the user-generated media you read trickles down from the top. This virtuous circle is how static information becomes viral word-of-mouth, the most persuasive form of communication.
The Internet is a mass medium full of niches, and within each niche, some individuals are simply more relevant and influential because they are most responsible for shaping word-of-mouth in their communities. Communication in this environment is predicated on authentically creating and sharing, not pitching, original content to individuals, not consumers. Adding blogs to a media list was never an effective strategy.
For the first time PR has the tools and experience to cultivate buzz (prospects) and measure word-of-mouth (customers):
We can now monitor and evaluate who is saying what about our brands online, tapping critical business intelligence from the world's largest, most prolific focus group.
Equal parts art and science, we have the ability to do something about these sentiments by systematically producing, publishing, linking, and sharing content based on real conversations to guide word-of-mouth.
Lastly, we can measure the impact of our work through detailed report cards on how we have moved the conversations through hard metrics such as inbound links and soft metrics such as tonal sentiment.
These word-of-mouth campaigns blur the lines between disciplines because they combine the measurability of online marketing and the conversational skills of PR. It's PR that the CMO can understand. PR must communicate how distribution of the message is every bit as important as production of the content. Since we work editorially, we can more easily understand how individuals are sharing greater control of brands and the power of conversations.
Regardless, the demand for attention, the most valuable commodity in marketing and communications, is escalating wildly, but the supply remains fixed. The Internet is both a cause and a solution.
Curtis is the founder of Attention PR (
), an agency specializing in word-of-mouth campaigns