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Communicators must understand the role of leading content and supporting content says Kaizo’s managing director Rhodri Harries

Following our recent report into the "How have media priorities changed for communications directors?", PRmoment’s Ben Smith caught up with Kaizo’s managing director Rhodri Harries to find out what the plethora of channels means for today’s communicators

Ben Smith: Thinking about the different channels available to communicators today, what are the differences between leading and supporting content?

Rhodri Harries: The clever brands are the ones that can understand and exploit the roles of each channel and how they build on each other. When is social the lead that needs to be extended and promoted through paid and earned media? Versus when does earned media lead the news that is supported by information and videos on owned channels and discussions and debate on social? It’s less now about how they integrate, but more about how they inter-relate.

BS: What has been the impact of different social media platform algorithms on earned content?

RH: Ironically, we may see a re-emergence, or at least a reinstatement, of the importance and reach of earned news as algorithms increasingly shut out brand and corporate news. It can also only be a matter of time before Google and Facebook work out a way to block or severely limit obviously paid-for influencers endorsement, highlighting the need for communicators to develop more authentic partnerships – previously known as PR!

BS: What does this research tell us about the reality of influencer relations as opposed to journalist relations?

RH: It clearly depends on objectives, sectors and market, but influencer relations is increasingly becoming a paid channel, whereas journalists should be a conduit to an audience, thus playing a different role. That said, for many media to survive there will increasingly be a blurring of boundaries – if not with individuals then certainly in the way the publisher will view certain news such as product launches and overtly commercial messages.

BS: What channels seem to work better for B2B organisations?

RH: It really depends on the objectives and expected outcomes, most B2B brands are under ever-more pressure to prove value in terms of immediate impact on the sales funnel, so content that elicits a lead in the form of some sort of data (even just a name and email address) is crucial.

BS: Measurement of digital channels, and non-digital channels, is utterly achievable for all communicators. What KPIs do you see becoming dominant?

RH: It is unbelievable how much work is still measured on an output-only basis and how many objectives still are based on metrics that aren’t really measured – such as awareness. A good mix of KPIs is required as, no matter what the budget, it is always possible to measure impact in some way; from Google trends, to web analytics, to measuring change in search through to simple customer surveys to measure perceived profile and significant brand-tracking

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