Lee Odden

Mike Moran Keynote: What Corporations Need From PR in a Web 2.0 World

The day two Media Relations Summit lunch keynote is given by Mike Moran, a distinguished engineer from IBM, who starts out with a question: Did Robert Scoble make you feel technologically stupid this morning and now you’re thinking you have to listen to an engineer? Mike admits he can’t be Robert and neither should we.

“You have permission to sip from the new web 2.0 world, rather than drink from it like a fire hose”. Give yourself permission to do a little bit of this. What I don’t want is for you to feel overwhelmed by all of this. Also, “I’m going to count clips and thats it”. Don’t retreat to what you’re comfortable with. Be willing to experiment.

The reason second book is named “Do it Wrong Quickly” is to encourage people to be wrong and then learn. Admit that most of what we do is wrong. Most of the things we do the first time, we screw up. It’s ok.

Instead of spending too much time analyzing in advance, find out how we can get feedback from the people we’re trying to influence. Over time we’ll learn more by doing than reading about them or from an outside expert. What you need to figure out is how you are going to be the expert. An expert in finding out what works best for your clients, knowing that many new things may not work the first time.

The good new days of public relations. You can now target even the smallest group and measure the results of everything you do. You must change your message in response to what your customers say in comments and blogs as well as do when searching, purchasing and interacting online.

The internet is so cool for PR people because they understand the value of Free. It does cost an investment of time and effort, which isn’t any different than the effort currently made at developing relationships. What’s different is that with the web, there are more measurable effects and outcomes.

PR has not been in the listening department. PR is outbound messaging. Now PR has to be listening. It’s just as important to pay attention as to get attention.

The Times they are a changing. TV screen, laptop screen and cell phone screen. How do we (PR) reach the latter two?

TV, radio and print are all lagging the web – especially with younger consumers. The media shift is also a change from passive reception to interaction.

Don’t be a PR expert, be a storytelling expert. This is an advantage for PR people who are familiar with telling stories to editors and now need to help other people tell your clients’ stories.

Instead of looking at the internet as threat, but as an opportunity to use your storytelling and persuasion skills in more places.

Who are the new gatekeepers of the web? Example 1 is bloggers. Netflix decided not to have a corporate blog, but rather treats bloggers like press.

Relates story of Netlix inviting a blogger (Hacking Netflix) along with other mainstream media. Neflix customers read the blog, investors read the MSM pubs.

What happens if you ignore bloggers? Gives Kryptonite locks as example. Kryptonite went through measures to react, but didn’t communicate that to anyone, especially not bloggers. The story built momentum in blogoshpere and the mainstream press. The lesson is that they should have reached out to bloggers to educate them on what Kryptonite was doing.

Another example give was Dell Hell. Dell was flamed for not being real. Dell quickly admitted its mistakes and promised to do better. The blogosphere eventually gave Dell credit for trying.

Yet another example: Walmart likely paid millions for their web site and have #1 and #2 search positions for “Walmart” but #3 is a “hate site” which is likely far more dedicated to their message than the Walmart PR team.

Companies need to pay attention and engage when it makes sense. You may not win them over, but at least you’ll blunt their message. You’ll look better by trying.

The second gatekeeper – customers. Social media allows you tap into “word of mouse”.

The leverage of online interactions and reach is much higher online than offline. How can PR people create messages that get passed along? PR people have an opportunity to be great at creating messages that get passed along.

Gives example of the Blendtec “Will it Blend?” Sales have quintupled. Polls audience who’s heard of Blendtec? Many hands go up. How many heard of them before the video? 3 hands left.

Another example is Mentos and Cola. Coke said, “We prefer our customers drink our product”.

If you ignore customers, they will flame you.

Third Gatekeeper is search engines. Helpful content beats marketing hype. You must appeal to Google.

Great content makes your site a link magnet. Write content people will want to link to.

Cost for leads: Direct mail $10. Search .45

The three R’s of marketing 2.0. Real, relevant and responsive.

PR pros need to help all employees do the job. Coordinate, not centralize.

Listen to what people are saying with tools like Google Alerts and reputation monitoring services.

How to coordinate? Evangelism, training and establishing policies. Start with a small number, train them to train other people.

Why is this so tough? Different kinds of changes:
– understand the difference between technical versus adaptive change.
– Understand that culter changes are adaptive. People must overcome their habits. When you “get it” have mercy on others that haven’t. They may feel stupid.

Mike has two fantastic books:

Search Engine Marketing Inc. and Do It Wrong Quickly

You can also read Kevin Sawyer’s excellent coverage of the Mike Moran Keynote at Media Relations Blog

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Carolyn Phillips says

    This is great stuff! Most of the initial work I do with clients is “un-scare” them. Those of us who are excited by what’s happening in internet marketing these days, the plethora of new venues to use are talking way above our clients heads and forgetting that they are experts at what they do. Our job is to help them find out which marketing methods will work for THEIR culture, THEIR personality, THEIR work-style and help them become expert.

    Thank you for writing this. I will link to it from my blog page.

  2. I enjoyed reading this post. However, you comment of taking a sip instead of drinking from the hose of web 2.0 struck me most.

    I perceive that this should be the approach used by those of us less familiar with this platform.

    Thanks for the information.

  3. This post definitely struck a few chords with me! (all good ones, of course). Thanks for sharing!

  4. I do agree. It is more important to be a good storytelling expert that PR expert.


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