Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Content gets a longer tail

There has been quite a lively debate about the ‘Long Tail’ since Chris Anderson first wrote his article in Wired back in 2004. In today’s Wall Street Journal a couple of news items caught my eye that provide tools for content to wag their own long tail. And where there’s content there is usually something PR people should pay attention to. Specifically the news stories were: Cisco’s move to create a B2B video messaging service; and a piece by Lee Gomes that talked about how companies like LiveOffice are enabling people to store podcasts of just about any conference call they hold. In both these cases companies (well people actually) can find a permanent home for content that would ordinarily have died a death pretty quickly. This is potentially interesting for the PR industry in that it creates some further resources to help editors and analysts but also tools that can communicate directly with communities or individuals. No longer will people have to dig around in the store room for that old footage of their CEO talking about… whatever he was talking about, or the tape of their CFO explaining the way they are going to reorganize the business. Of course it also means that the opinions we put forward are going to be there for all to see and hear for many a year to come AND they'll be easy to find...but that’s no bad thing. Is it?

2 comments:

Wadds Tech PR Blog said...

It will be interesting to see how many PRO’s take to using these tools. In an ideal world, the only thing a PRO would have to do is communicate everything to the outside world and make the organisation as transparent as possible. The organisation would work in an ethical manner and the media would not misinterpret it in anyway. However, as we all know, this will never be the reality. To have everything the organisation says on file is like playing with fire. Circumstances change and this year’s profit may be next year’s sackings and no doubt it will make it easier for the media to dig up dirt on clients. The only thing this type of technology will result in is more work for the PR industry because of the amount of gatekeeping they would have to do.

Tim Dyson, CEO of Next Fifteen said...

I take your point which is that the media does tend to pick and choose the facts needed to make a case and that by providing every historical fact in an easy to access format we open up our clients to potential abuse. I'd argue that we will end up in this place anyway. Sooner or later we will be forced to work in a world where everything your client has ever said will be available to the media so may as well start to figure out how we deal with that right now. I'd also argue that in a world where content is more accessible people will put greater effort into making their content unique or at least interesting. That's got to be a good thing.