Reflection and Forecast
It’s difficult to sum up an entire year of the media industry into easy to understand bullet points, but by reflecting on what was successful and engaging in 2012, we can enter a new year with a fresh perspective and look forward to continued advances in social media, communications and marketing.
2012 was a busy year, with advancements in tablets, apps and mobile at the forefront of technology.
Three media experts have shared their take on industry trends: Jeremy Porter, director of unified communications at Definition 6 and blogger at Journalistics; Kevin Dugan, director of marketing at Empower and public relations blogger at Bad Pitch Blog; and Ariel Kouvaras, senior account executive at Bliss Integrated.
Porter believed that 2012 was a crucial year for mobile as more people concentrated on tablets and smartphones as their default devices. “In turn, media have made the transition. As media organizations transform their online experiences, you’re seeing more mobile-first design overhauls,” he said. “It’s pretty common to hear ‘responsive design’ in any web meeting these days.”
Dugan agreed that the convergence of technology and content really drove innovation in 2012 and has “never been more seamless and more important.”
Kouvaras cited the recent shut-down of Newsweek’s print edition as a major reality check of how digital innovation had influenced 2012. “Newsweek killing its print publication in favor of an all-digital presence gave the industry pause,” she said. “In Darwinian terms, the increasingly digital environment phased out news’s ink and paper traits, which quite clearly shows us that the game changed.”
In terms of communicating, a few challenges surfaced in balancing established work ethics with the newer practices that have become prevalent through social media and technology. It’s a great reminder of how important it is to be adaptable.
“From a communications standpoint, we now need to take into consideration not only how content is delivered to our target audiences, but also how that content might be consumed across different types of experiences,” Porter said. “That creates a lot of challenges, but I think it creates incredible opportunities for communicators.”
Additionally, understanding timing is imperative to keep in mind. “Ensuring your content is found by the right audience at the right time requires a broader understanding of paid, owned and earned media,” Dugan said. “The only challenge is getting the right data at the right time. With the right mix of fast data (company data, social media, search, web analytics) and slow data (industry databases and research services), it’s possible to target your audience more than ever.”
Kouvaras said presenting distinctive content to journalists can have its challenges as well. “Reporters are now more than ever one bad ranking from a pink slip. With almost all major news outlets able to quantify the success of an online story, reporters need that scoop,” she said. “This presents a unique challenge to a PR professional trying to engage reporters in a pitch that might be very interesting, but doesn’t have that hard edge.”
Some new and established media tools of the trade will definitely help facilitate communication in 2013. Compared to giants Twitter and Facebook, Google+ has been vastly underutilized, but could likely have a turnaround this year.
“Google+ is the best social platform out there. It’s just lacking the audience,” Dugan said. “I’m not dismissing this issue, and neither is Google as it finds more ways for users to be exposed to its social platform. In the meantime, Google continues to roll out enhancements. Google+ isn’t going anywhere.”
But what’s really important about Google+, is whether the target audience the communicator is trying to reach is using it. “That’s the question to ask, and answer, before worrying about Google+,” Dugan added.
Kouvaras also has high hopes for the Google platform. “For B2B communication professionals, Google Hangouts could be an easy way to create dynamic, interactive digital content among professionals all over the world, so I hope we, including myself, can all get on board,” she said.
ThingLink is a tool that Porter is starting to keep a close eye on in 2013, as it enables users to tell a story through an image like Instagram that includes an attractive tagging feature. Porter also considers Tumblr and LinkedIn to be underutilized and with a lot of change happening on LinkedIn, he encourages users to revisit its potential. “It’s the new Facebook for brands,” he said.
Porter also foresees RavenTools, a tool for managing SEO and social analytics, to take off. “I’d also argue that PR professionals are going to become more familiar with marketing automation tools like HubSpot and Pardot for inbound marketing,” he said.
Looking ahead in this industry, change is inevitable towards the digital space but Kouvaras reminds us to stay personal and sincere in our evolving relationships. “Hiding behind an email address will not take you to the next level. Giving someone a call or meeting them for coffee personalizes you and gives you an opportunity to build a relationship – and that’s the foundation of this business,” she said. “Try to be genuine as possible. Following someone on Twitter just to sell them something is not a meaningful proposition.”
Dugan advises to stay pragmatic. Be open to change, but don’t fall for hype that media outlets can spread.
In developing new relationships, Porter recommends being honest and a good listener. “Listen first, talk later,” he said. Additionally, he believes that everyone should take advantage of Twitter chats as a useful resource. “You’ll meet great people and learn a lot in the process,” he said.
Photo credit: Leondel via Flickr
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