Whatever Happened to the Message?

Whatever Happened to the Message? I was sitting in a meeting with a few PR folks the other day listening to the talk about social media and all of the content delivery opportunities it presents to companies. It was really a fascinating conversation – made me think of when I started in the public relations industry 25+ years ago and how far the industry has come.

Back in the old days (I can see the eyes roll) we spent so much time crafting our message and less time thinking about the distribution tactics. Today, it’s exactly the opposite. "Get it out." "Send it to as many channels as possible." "How many 'likes' did we get?" Usually, those types of comments come from clients who seem more concerned about getting as many "hits" as possible in all of the zillions of social media channels than what it is they are actually saying.

I see this every single day. The more companies discover and indulge in the various social media channels, the more excited they get to actually take advantage of all of these free tools. Why not, right? These digital networks provide excellent visibility and exposure outlets to promote their products and services.  However, we can’t forget about the fundamentals!

While I am huge proponent of business professionals and companies embracing social media, it seems to me that a few really important questions get lost in this quest to gain traction in the social media world:

Who is the audience?

What type of information are they looking for?

How do we differentiate ourselves?

What’s the core message we want to send?

What’s the call to action?

When I built my new website, The News Funnel, I knew that I wanted (and needed) to take advantage of the various tools that social media can offer a company. But, I also wanted to give them a platform to distribute meaningful, thoughtful and original content where the message still matters. I have found that while Twitter is revolutionary, LinkedIn has redefined networking, and Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are gaining traction amongst the business community, there are still dozens of new social platforms hitting the market daily.

But, what is missing is the focus on the message, and not just the medium. It’s not all hopeless. I do still see some examples of good, smart and strategic content being created. Take the following for example:

This is what good content looks like.

I would love to get others to chime in and send examples of great content they are finding in the marketplace. My hope is that others agree with me and are really focused on developing smart content to stand out amongst all of the focus on mediums.