Future of the PR Industry & Secrets of Success

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 09/29/2005

The secret of my success at Connors is going to be…

1. My ability to kill multiple birds with one stone. Even when I’m thinking out loud right now about strategic planning issues, I’m building Web traffic, which in turn could enter you into a dialogue with Connors Communications.

2. Being able to employ methodologies and techniques simply not available to most other people in my position. I’m a programmer, artist and vice president of a PR firm in NYC. It’s an unusual mix, but exactly what’s required to allow PR to plant its flag in the turf of SEO as its own. Everything having to do with un-paid publicity and exposure on the Web belongs firmly in the realm of PR. So, SEO is to PR what AdWords is to Advertising. And the story of SEO is going to get much bigger as I help Connors rewrite the rules of PR.

3. Being able to keep many plates spinning at the same time. I’m responsible for the new business model and managing the team. I’m responsible for the programming endeavors that allow Connors to maintain the competitive edge in SEO. I’m responsible for new business. And finally, I’m responsible for ensuring the existing client base remains happy. It’s a lot of plates to keep spinning. I’m contemplating writing a plate-spinning system so nothing is ever forgotten—especially in terms of employees, opportunities and tasks. It has a different flow than a simple task-list, in that each plate must be “touched” every day.

4. Envisioning and bringing to fruition the perfect business model for the convergence of PR, SEO and online outreach via blogging and message boards. It’s got to be profitable and scalable while providing powerful methods of customer acquisition and retention. So, while most PR firms focus on the worst possible places in online and end up spinning their wheels, I’m focusing on the few media choke points that still exist (fragmentation of the media makes it difficult to know where to drop your marketing dollar). The best efficiencies are to be gained in areas that are normally just so outside the realm of traditional PR. It takes outside the box thinking to usher in PR 2.0.

5. My ability to accumulate and transfer vast amounts of explicit knowledge—building a knowledge base. This is related to point #1 in that it will build promotional material, training material, web traffic, and ultimately result in the SEO playbook, which relates back to point #4. I’ve long been a fan of capturing “process”, so you have a revision history of the evolution of ideas in an easily accessible format. That’s uncommon on the Internet, with the exception of a few rare and inspiring examples, like the Wikipedia revision history system. Real quality technical-data that builds things up from scratch with baby-steps (my favorite way to both learn a topic and teach a topic) is rare.

6. My ability to produce consistently and on-plan, whether directly or through delegation, and maintain my motivation and the motivation of my team. It’s easy to get distracted. I have to work on the right things for the right reasons. I think back to Stephen Covey’s quadrant of importance vs. urgency. The important, but not urgent work is often the most important for long-term success.

7. The quality and rapidness with which I wrap up the few critical apps. This primarily entails sales lead management, SEO analytics and Web content management systems. I’ve got a generalized application framework, which you can read about in the first post in this blog. It’s like Ruby on Rails, and is where many of the efficiencies come from. We slam out apps in no time, so application development isn’t a burden. But most customer acquisition and retention hinges on just a couple of core apps, which are just now coming online. So yes,

I’m sure there is more that I’m not thinking of, but I will add it in comments as time goes on. With all the system-building that I do, which I consider necessary for maintaining competitive advantage, it’s interesting that I use Blogger for this purpose, isn’t it? It’s about keeping immersed in the mainstream and best-of-breed systems, as well as the blogosphere, proper. You can’t create in a vacuum.