by David Meerman Scott
A fascinating convergence is upon us right now bringing a perfect opportunity for open-minded information professionals.
In the world of marketing and public relations, scale and media are no longer the deciding factors. The world works in real-time now. Speed and agility are an organization’s decisive competitive advantage.
The mantra of the day is: communicate quickly. In real-time.
There is an opportunity for information professionals to make the connection between real-time information and the opportunities and threats to an enterprise as a result. This requires agility. The marketing and PR people need your help because they don’t have the skills to interpret data in real-time like a bond-trader.
Sadly, many corporate libraries have reduced or eliminated their staff and that means talented researchers and information professionals have been laid off. I’ve had a chance to speak with various information professionals recently and many are downcast about career prospects.
At the same time, many organizations — corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, and educational institutions — finally understand the value of creating interesting information online that serves to educate and inform consumers. People in companies now realize web marketing success comes from creating content-rich web sites, videos, podcasts, photos, charts, ebooks, white papers and other valuable content.
Companies I speak with are trying to figure out who will create the content that they need for their online initiatives. Marketers, executives, and entrepreneurs say things like: “David, I need help. If I knew how to create great content, I’d already be doing it.”
At every speech I deliver I say to corporations one of the best ways to create great Web content is to actually hire a journalist or information professional, either full- or part-time, to help identify opportunities (and threats) and actually create information that will serve as what I call “brand journalism.” Journalists and information professionals are great at understanding an audience, researching, and creating content that buyers want to consume—it’s the bread and butter of their skill set.
What this convergence means to you, a smart journalist or information professional:
You went to graduate school to learn how to research, organize and access information. Yes, the employers who traditionally hired your skills are shrinking fast. But there is an entirely new world out there for you to consider: marketing departments and public relations departments. Please keep an open mind about this.
I’m talking about creating content for a corporation, government agency, nonprofit, or educational institution. You’ve probably not seriously considered that there are potential employers outside of traditional library and information centers.
Yes, there are new potential employers. And they need you and your skills. Now.
You’ve learned that you need to collect information on all sides of a story. You wonder how can you be balanced if you work for the “dark side.” I get that. But if you realize that your skills are in demand right now, you’ve got a new and fascinating opportunity.
You don’t need to compromise your integrity. You still provide authoritative research and access to content. You still practice your craft. You still have followers who care about what you do. You still change people’s lives.
The idea of using your research skills should be to educate and inform, not to overtly sell products. While some of you would rather wait tables than work for “the man,” others of you will find the opportunity refreshing.
It may even make you more marketable for traditional gigs with information hungry enterprises, as long as you are dedicated to providing quality content while pioneering this new way of using your skills.
If I had my marketing dream team, I’d fire the marketing staff and hire journalists and information professionals. I can’t emphasize this enough: you have a role in real-time marketing.
David Meerman Scott is a marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and seminar leader. His book The New Rules of Marketing & PR opened people’s eyes to the new realities of marketing and public relations on the Web. Six months on the BusinessWeek bestseller list and published in more than 25 languages from Bulgarian to Vietnamese, New Rules is now a modern business classic. A recovering VP of marketing for two publicly traded information companies, he was also Asia marketing director for Knight-Ridder, at the time one of the world’s largest newspaper and electronic information companies. David’s popular blog and hundreds of speaking engagements around the world give him a singular perspective on how businesses are implementing new strategies to reach buyers.
Catch up with David at his blog WebInkNow or download his free ebook Real Time: How Marketing & PR at Speed Drives Measurable Success.