Sunday, September 1, 2013

“Preditors” are no longer alien

leonsis 3
We don't hang out much since
you got that gig at the
Verizon Center.
There’s a preditor in the Verizon Center in Washington, DC.

Several of them, actually. And if you use video to tell your story, you may want to get a preditor for your organization, too.

“Preditor” is the job title for people who both produce and edit video, one of a new generation of combined jobs blossoming across America as organizations try to capitalize on digital opportunities.

Ted Leonsis—who owns Verizon Center, the NBA Wizards, the NHL Capitals—is a wizard at capitalizing on opportunities. He is currently retooling the “decades-old business model” of his media and sports empire to bring it up to 21st century code.

According to The Washington Post, Leonsis’ company “is going aggressively digital, asking employees to broaden their skill sets, collaborate more, produce extra content and find innovative ways to deliver it.” One sentence, five lessons.

Go aggressively digital: Your organization’s online presence isn’t “another tool in our communications toolbox.” It’s the whole job site. As Ted says: “We believe in the three-screen future. There’s the computer. There’s the phone, and then there’s television.” You’ve got to get online if you want to get your story on those screens.

Ask employees to broaden their skill sets:  That content assembly line that allowed every department to add its own tweak to each press release? Scrap it. Online conversations happen in real time. Your team needs to have the skills—and the authority—to communicate in real time for your story to be part of the story.

Collaborate more: The online culture is collaborative. Want your story to be retold by communities you care about? Start by engaging in the conversation. If you bust into a group of like-minded folk having a friendly conversation and you start handing out press releases, you will get talked about. But you won’t like what you hear.

Produce extra content: To paraphrase Brad Pitt, “The Internet ain’t in the press-release posting business. It’s in the content-sharing business. And, cousin, business is a-BOOMin.” Content is the currency of the Internet. But your content must be current—and that takes constant upkeep. So as your employees are broadening their skill sets, encourage the more conversant of them to engage in online conversations on behalf of the organization. (Don’t forget to give them the authority to keep those conversations alive without running everything by legal.)

Find innovative ways to deliver content: Rod McKuen had it right: “The medium is the message.” But online media is much more than blogs, tweets, and likes. One of the best ways to deliver content is by engaging in other people’s conversations. See a blog post you like that is relevant to your issue? Leave a comment. Come across a podcast that offers a unique take on a topic you care about? Share it on Facebook. Before long, others will return the favor and you’ll be part of the conversation.

It’s a brave new world out there. If you want your story heard, you must engage in the conversation.

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