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The New Rules of Marketing and PR

By: David Meerman Scott

Reviewed By: Bob Ruffolo

Take Marketing and PR into your own hands and cut out the middleman.

In his book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, David Meerman Scott shows businesses how they can become their own publishing company and start creating their own news around their brand, instead of relying on traditional media.

Through blogging and social media (which Scott describes as the same thing), businesses can actively seek out their buyer persona and pull them into the buying process.

Of course this seems like common sense today, with Inbound Marketing as common as it is, but when this book was originally published there was still a lot of confusion on the subject.

This book does a great job of covering all the fundamentals that still apply today and is definitely a valuable read for Inbound Marketers of every experience level.

The New Rules of Marketing & PR

  1. You are what you publish – If you want to succeed on social media, you need a content strategy. Organize yourself like a publisher, which includes hiring writers and editors.

  2. People want authenticity, not spin – Speak the same way your buyer persona speaks. Avoid Marketing hype, overuse of buzzwords, and corporate-speak that people can’t relate to.

  3. People want participation, not propaganda – Social media is a platform for communicating and building a relationship with your audience, not for the hard sales pitch. Publish accordingly.

  4. Content Marketing is about timing, not interruption – Traditional Marketing tries to gain the attention of prospects through interruption (TV ads, pop-up, etc). Content Marketing is about identifying the needs of your audience and delivering the right content at the right time to meet those needs.

  5. Marketers must shift their attention from the masses to niches – Social media is “long tail communication” that includes meaningful interaction with smaller niches, instead of trying broadcast to the entire world.

  6. PR is direct to public – PR is not about your boss seeing your company on TV, it’s about your persona seeing your company online. Social Media PR allows you to directly communicate with your buyers.

  7. Marketing is about winning business, not awards – Successful social media Marketing requires that your social media goals align with your business goals.

  8. The Internet shifted the focus from media to PR – After years of nearly exclusive focus on media, the internet has made public relations public again, without intermediaries.

  9. Companies must drive people into the purchasing process – Through the use of a publishing strategy built around great content, businesses must actively guide prospects to the sale.

  10. Organizations must communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate –   Blogs, online video, e-books, news releases, and other forms of online content allow businesses to tailor their communication around their buyer persona. Focus on solving their problems first, before you try to deliver your message.

  11. Social networks allow businesses to connect with customers across the globe –  Social media is fundamentally a vehicle for connecting and interacting with your target audience, directly. Now your target audience can be anywhere in the world.

  12. The line is blurred between Marketing and PR online – Social media and online communication in general, make the somewhat artificial separation between Marketing and PR blurred, because managing your reputation and Marketing your business can both be accomplished through content Marketing.

Skipping the Middleman

“There’s no doubt that getting the word out about an idea, a product, or a service is much simpler when you can rely on social media sites like blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. The web allows any organization to reach buyers directly.” -David Meerman Scott

One of the key points that Scott drives home in this book is that businesses no longer need many of the traditional intermediaries that businesses in the past relied on.

Organizations no longer need to hire a PR agency and an ad agency to handle all of their PR and Marketing. Thanks to social media, companies can communicate directly with their buyer persona in real-time, which is a more active form of PR than has ever existed. Also, due to the rise of social media, PR and Marketing are not so different anymore.

To some degree, they are the same thing in many cases. Today, consumers often make purchasing decisions solely based on a company’s PR. For many people, it is the way that a company communicates with the public that has the biggest impact on their decision to do business with that company.

On the other hand, companies are held accountable for their Marketing strategies more than ever. In some cases, a company who is perceived as having honest or fair Marketing is rewarded with positive PR.

A notable example of blending Marketing and PR is Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty where they decided to do the complete opposite of what every other brand in their industry (including themselves up to that point) does by using non-photoshopped photography for their advertising. Rather than trying to use an idealized and photoshopped image of “beauty”, Dove decided to show what the average woman looks like without any trickery. With an increase in sales by $1.5 billion, I’d say it was a success.

In the modern business world, social media is the primary tool for Marketing and PR -- and you’ll never have to hire a PR or ad agency to use it successfully.

Become Your Own Publisher With Your Blog

Another key point that Scott wants us to take away from this book is to become our own publishers. Not just through the use of social media as a PR and Marketing tool, but to become legitimate thought leaders in our industries.

Rather than hoping and praying paying for mainstream media to cover your business, you can be your own media company that features coverage of your business as much or as little as you want.

Scott suggests that you hire your own journalists (blog writers) and editors to treat your content Marketing as a real publishing company would.

By creating valuable content for your buyer personas, you establish authority for your brand and the market will view you as a thought leader in your industry. Your content should be completely focused on your ideal persona and less on self-promotion. By helping your audience solve problems, you are promoting your brand.

Social Media is Real-Time Media

According to Scott, there are three different social media strategies that businesses should look to adopt:

  1. Entertain me -- PR and Marketing stunts, viral videos, etc.

  2. Help me -- providing useful content through social media.

  3. Love me -- driving fan loyalty and advocacy through social media.

Social media different than traditional media and the same rules don’t apply. Companies who embrace the more personable approach of social media are the ones who have the most success.

Here are Scott’s guidelines for social media use:

  • Don’t wait for big news to happen, publish status updates frequently

  • Publish content that’s written for your target audience, not for journalists

  • Never use keyword language (similar to PPC ads or old-school SEO)

  • Listen to what people are talking about and join in on the conversation

  • Develop a personality that gives your brand its own voice

  • Use catchy titles to spark interest in your content

  • Tell stories whenever possible

  • Keep your audience up-to-date with events and appearances that your company will be attending

  • Always respond to questions quickly

  • Share pictures, videos, graphics, and presentations often

  • Add sharing features to your website

  • Offer RSS and newsletter subscriptions

  • Ensure that your content isn’t outdated before publishing

  • Include call-to-actions that pull your persona into the buying process

  • Measure and study your analytics

Despite the fact that this book was published well before social media had grown to what it is today, you’ll notice that the same guidelines he suggests still apply. Ultimately, people want to connect with other people and that’s an aspect of society that will never change.

Social media is a tool that allows businesses to do just that.