Media & Marketing: How to start next year smarter than you are now

Media & Marketing: How to start next year smarter than you are now

The media and marketing landscape is changing at such a rapid rate, it’s nigh on impossible to fully keep up in any meaningful way.

That said, as professionals, it’s incumbent upon us to continually be learning, to drink in the wisdom of other experts to help us make practical sense of today’s high-velocity, hyper-connected communications environment.

Given my background is in PR and communications, with a skew towards social media and content marketing, these are the ‘broad church’ areas I tend to follow online. However, many of the resources outlined extend beyond PR and thus are relevant to anyone in marketing.

Two books, three blogs and four podcasts

There is no shortage of ways to learn about our industry. Hence there’s no excuse not to tap into the internet’s collective brain to supplement what we already know.

If you read these two books, regularly check in with these three blogs, and listen to these four podcasts on a weekly basis, you can’t help but become smarter than the average PR and marketing ‘bear’.

Let’s do this!

Two books

Agile PR: Expert Messaging in a Hyper-Connected, Always-On World

“ … PR has evolved: It used to be all about having, then selling the idea. Now it’s about telling the story in a compelling and believable way.”

I loved this book as it largely reinforced the way I’ve been thinking about PR for a few years now. I get ideas from most books I read and I love having my thinking and pre-set notions challenged because that is how you grow professionally.

But other times it’s simply gratifying to be nodding your head as you read, having a book validate your thoughts and philosophies around a particular subject.

This is what Agile PR has been for me, and in that respect, I found it inspiring and educational in equal measure.

The book’s author, Marian Salzman, is a renowned cultural trend spotter who heads up Havas PR globally.

She has managed to pull together the many disparate threads of what makes up the discipline of PR today (no mean feat BTW!), packaging them up for readers interested in learning how to more effectively get their story heard in a cluttered marketplace.

It’s all here: Messaging, storytelling, trends, tools, celebrity, geography, personal branding, cause-based communications, influence marketing, crisis management and PR measurement. Phew!

Welcome to PR in 2018 and beyond!

The New Rules of Marketing & PR (6th edition)

“Organizations that understand the New Rules of Marketing and PR develop relationships directly with consumers like you and me.”

I talk about this book often because it is the bible of how to approach PR and marketing in today’s noisy, always-on, digital-first world.

Its author – David Meerman Scott – has been documenting the evolution of digital communications from a PR and marketing perspective for over a decade, and so what you get is a consistent narrative that hasn’t deviated from his original thinking, but still captures the nuances of, and changes in, social technologies and online publishing platforms.

I first read New Rules in when it came out in 2007 and have dipped in and out of revised editions since as the world of social media has changed. For example, the first book talked about MySpace and Second Life!

Crucially, David revitalises each edition with new examples and case studies which bring to life his theories and ideas.

The 6th edition includes a dozen fresh new examples of PR and marketing success and he has also updated many of the existing case studies that appear throughout the book, plus added sections on new social media services that have emerged since the previous edition, for example Snapchat and Facebook Live.

Three blogs

Seth Godin

It’s Seth Godin’s daily blog on marketing, tribes and respect. What more can I say?

Godin, marketing provocateur and best-selling author, has an amazing ability to take complex ideas and distill them into super-concise blog posts that get you thinking. No better way to start the day than an intellectual injection of some #SethGold!

Convince & Convert

Led by Jay Baer, one of the world’s most respected marketing thought leaders, the Convince & Convert blog is one serious body of work, jam-packed with smart and informative articles from across the digital spectrum, including social media and content marketing, customer experience, SEO, marketing automation and influencer marketing.

While a good chunk of the blog is not necessarily directly related to the discipline of PR, there are plenty of ‘shoulder’ topics that communicators need to be aware of.

However, if you operate more deeply in the digital realm, you really need to follow Convince & Convert if you don’t already do so. Oh, and the blog’s podcast network is also worth checking out too!

Spin Sucks

Spin Sucks is a staple of the PR industry. If you want to better your standing as a modern communicator, you need to subscribe to this blog and drink in the wisdom from a broad range of contributors, led by blog founder, Gini Dietrich.

Topics range from voice search, visual storytelling, crisis marketing and content marketing, through to leadership, productivity and becoming a more effective consultant i.e. effective client service.  Eclectic, eh? But still very relevant!

What I like about Spin Sucks is it still manages to attract heaps of comments from its engaged community, something most other blogs struggle with these days as the conversation continues to shift to social channels.

Four podcasts

Brand Newsroom

I have this podcast set on weekly rotation and I listen to it pretty much when it comes out. Presented by James Lush, from the Lush content agency, Sarah Mitchell, who is the Australian editor of the Content Marketing Institute, and Media Stable’s Nic Hayes, Brand Newsroom is “for anyone who has a say in how companies are communicating”.

Most episodes feature James, Sarah and Nic riffing on a given topic, but if one of the trio is away for whatever reason, they often will interview a guest instead.

If you listen hard, you might hear Sarah mention the importance of strategy. Sarah and Nic also don’t mind agreeing to disagree on many topics, which makes for fun listening.

Digital Download

Digital Download host, Paul Sutton, gets PR … and he gets digital. It’s a powerful combination in today’s social age in which brands need to ensure their narrative is consistent across many and varied channels.

It also makes for interesting listening as he welcomes an eclectic mix of guests on the show, ranging from influencer marketing expert Scott Guthrie and popular Instagrammer Bronte Huskinson, through to PR stormtrooper John Brown and hard rock band, Halestorm.

Paul demonstrates depth and curiosity and has a friendly, easy-to-listen-to interview style. If you’re a PR practitioner, Digital Download should be number one on your ‘must listen’ podcast list.

The Echo Junction Podcast

Adam Fraser, from Sydney, has built up a solid offering over several years and continues to attract headline guests from PR, marketing and social media from Australia and overseas, including Gavin Heaton, Joanne Jacobs, Lee Odden, Mitch Joel, Brian Fanzo, Joe Pulizzi, Scott Monty and UK thought leader, Richard Stacy.

While many of the guests talk on digital media and marketing, Adam tends to mix things up topic-wise, covering such things as blockchain, AI and bots, experience design, digital transformation and leadership.

The mix of topics works well, and Adam has developed into a confident interviewer whose style is relaxed and conversational.

The Spin Sucks Podcast

Author and blogger, Gini Dietrich, from Spin Sucks fame (see above), has finally got her podcast freak on.

A presenter on the Inside PR podcast, Gini has also branched out on her own and produces a solo weekly podcast featuring brief episodes that cover a diverse range of topics that fall under the broad umbrella of modern communications today.

The podcast blurb says it all: The lines between PR, marketing, search, advertising, social, and content continue to blur, making it difficult to decide what belongs where. Rather than decide, let’s come together and work as one to grow organizations. We can change the PR industry…together.


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