One of the intriguing ideas in David Meerman Scott’s new book, “Real-Time Marketing & PR,” is the trend to create a new position – chief of real-time communications. (Scott, 2011)
“When the world talks about you, you will be able to respond with the speed the world now expects and respects.” (Scott, 2011)
What makes this trend exciting is that public relations people can now be valued sources from the start for reporters on deadline. For example, your company is concerned about America providing wireless broadband to all. Your CEO wants to make the point:
“If we do not have enough spectrum allocated for wireless broadband, a brick wall will separate the United States from innovation.”
To keep this from happening, your CEO believes a reallocation of unused spectrum is needed and wants Americans to urge Congress to act on this matter. (2011, p. Shapiro)
If a real-time communications chief is monitoring news stories, blogs, forums and tweets about broadband, your company can become a much valued source of information, helping the reporter put together his story on deadline. As a news story is breaking is the best time to get your CEO’s message out.
Speed is the major factor and important trend here. You must establish a presence in social media most important to your company – Facebook, blogs, Twitter, forums.
It certainly beats the old-fashioned, off-line method of PR still followed by the plodders who wait for a story to break, draft a response, run it through legal and human resources departments and, finally, several days later,release a statement. This is followed by phone calls to the media begging the reporter to please include your statement in a follow-up story.
It no longer works this way.
Real-time is a mind set and is why Scott believes that “real-time” should be in the job title rather than “social-media” administrators or “social-media” strategists which emphasizes the tools rather than the speed needed in today’s world.
If a company understands that the real-time communications trend is vital to its business success in 2011, then Scott writes the Real-Time Chief’s job description. I offer below the key requirements (Scott, 2011) –
* acts as the coordination point for real-time communication;
* serves as the contact point for breaking issues;
* knows the legal, regulatory and compliance issues of the organization;
* makes consistent and timely updates to the company’s social media sites;
* monitors and responds to appropriate forums in real-time;
* works closely with and keeps the company’s Website staff informed;
Throughout my professional career, both in government and the private sector, I have adviseda pro-active communications strategy – lead the way, don’t follow. I applaud this new job position. However, beware–the creation of a chief of real-time communication requires a confident company headed by a very confident CEO.
Workers in the job force realize early-on the challenges in working for a company or a boss that does not have confidence. Micro-managing, second guessing, frantic Friday afternoon or weekend deadlines are all well-known characteristics of this incurable not-ready- for prime-time leadership of the “chicken hearted- no-confidence” CEO.
If you are working for a company headed by someone like this, move on. It’s difficult to imagine how a company will succeed long-term in this digital revolution without the confidence and commitment to build a real-time communication team.
Moore’s Law says everything will be twice as fast at half the cost every two years.
The trend “chief of real-time communications” will be an integral part of any successful communication team.