What is the next big thing in marketing communications? We spoke with business communications expert, entrepreneur, and author David R. Evanson to examine an underutilized media opportunity he calls “traditional PR on steroids.”
Q: You brand yourself as a “financial writer.” Why is that?
A: Because I know a lot about finance, and it’s an uncommon skill. Whenever I had to look for a financial writer, I came face to face with just how rare a skillset it is. That said, it can be limiting. Lately, I simply say ‘business writer,’ whenever asked what I do.
Q: You’ve migrated from investor relations, to media relations, and now to something new. What do you see as the ‘Next Big Thing’ in marketing communications?
A: The disintegration of ad dollars for traditional media has placed a premium on reducing costs. This has given rise to a massive opportunity for subject matter experts to collaborate with publishers and contribute expert content on a regular basis. These opportunities exist vertically and horizontally in the media. For instance, right now, I am managing contributor programs with some of the largest media companies (like Dow Jones), deep trades (such as DentistryIQ), influential political journals (such as The Hill), and technical media (such as XBRL.org). In terms of the volume of exposure and the level of control, contributed content is like traditional PR on steroids.
Q: What do you see as the biggest drivers of marketing communications change?
A: Were it that I knew. I suspect that whatever the driver is, it will trickle down from changes made by, or forced upon, social media networks.
Q: How have technology and digital media impacted your business and client demands?
A: Lots of answers to this . . . but for one, it has dramatically shortened the length of written communications. When I wrote a column for Entrepreneur magazine long ago and far away, the minimum required word count was 1,500 words — or about 6 pages. Today, I write for Forbes, among others, and anything over 600 words – or two pages – is considered long. Net, net, this has increased the degree of difficulty, because writing short is harder than making your points without a restraint on the word count.
Q: What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs who want to scale?
A: Keep iterating until you get traction, and take scary amounts of risk.
David Evanson is Founder and Principal of financial communications firm, David R. Evanson, LLC
Tony DeFazio is an accomplished public relations professional and entrepreneur who has led three agencies. He bootstrapped his first business, growing it through the Great Recession to achieve an exit. He excels at developing narratives and delivering them with resonance and impact to influencers and media around the world. DeFazio is a respected thought leader who has served in leadership positions of industry associations, and was elected President of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Philadelphia Chapter and Heritage Region Board of Directors, representing 17 states in the Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West.