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Does this sound familiar? You’re reading, working, talking to a colleague or friend, sitting in a restaurant, waiting for a bus. All of a sudden you’re seized by an overwhelming impulse to find something out. NOW!

Maybe it’s the title of a movie, the name of a hotel in New York or the person who built the Lego skyscraper installation on Bloor Street.

And before you know it, you instinctively reach for your smartphone, as if nothing else mattered. And you start tapping.

Google calls these close encounters of the mobile kind: micro-moments. The times you want to know / go / do / buy. They’re quick, portable and a natural evolution from the Zero Moment of Truth – when you have a question and search for an answer online. And they’re changing the way you discover and consume news and information.

Are you there?

If you’re in PR, it’s not hard to see the impact micro-moments are going to have on the way we develop and share stories. Instead of asking did you get coverage, you should be asking: Are you there…

  • when a travel blogger has an urge to check for info about a destination?
  • when a reporter notices a flurry of activity on Twitter and needs to find out more information for a possible story?
  • when a customer is browsing and requires a little more help before pressing buy?

In many ways, PR has always been intertwined with search. However, the mechanism was mainstream media, which were centrally controlled and far easier to grasp.

But we’re moving from platform-specific media clips to distributed news curation. Facebook has Instant Articles, Snapchat has Discover and Apple just launched its News app.

Aggregation is the new norm and it’s getting more sophisticated and better at anticipating what you want. And soon it will reshape the PR profession. With that in mind, here are a few ideas on how to get your head around micro-PR:

Know your customer. I mean beyond the two-dimensional persona you created to put them neatly into a box. Who are they really? What are they looking for? Where and when are they looking? What attracts and or distracts them? Are they readers? Do they prefer photos? Videos? What are their major channels of discovery? Where are their friends? And if you haven’t already done so, read Daniel Pink’s Drive. Then work backward to understand what’s being served up to them and what they’re clicking on when they’re in the micro-moment.

Embrace minimalism. Learn how to tell stories that are short. That means paring them down to creative essentials and knowing how to produce multimedia that conveys what long paragraphs of text once did. Practice brevity on Twitter by crafting an eye-catching phrase in 120 characters, then 100, then 80. Once you’ve got that down, take an image or make a short mobile video that brings your headline to life.

Location. Location. Location. We can learn a lot about social media and content from great retailers. By that I mean figuring out where your audience is heading and how you can place your content so it’s right there when they want it. That means listening so you can help, earning trust by making good on your content promises, disclosing payments and sponsorships and building relationships with your customer’s influencers – that includes media – who will share your amazing content so far and wide that the aggregators can’t help but notice.

Is that all it takes? Far from it. These are baby steps, but they’re a start. What other micro-PR ideas do you have?

A version of this post was originally published in Marketing magazine.

About Martin Waxman


Martin Waxman conducts social media and online crisis training workshops, is a digital and communications strategist and speaks at events across North America. He's the co-founder of three PR agencies, president of a consultancy and has worked in the industry for 25 years. He writes a monthly column for Marketing Magazine, teaches digital strategy and is chair of PRSA Counselors Academy.

4 comments
kaitfowlie
kaitfowlie

Yes! Instead of asking "did you get coverage?" Ask yourself, are you there when, and where your target audience is looking? A much more helpful question. 

kaitfowlie
kaitfowlie

@martinwaxman @kaitfowlie when a customer is looking for reviews, looking up a recipe, or even online on a job hunt. Micromoments are everywhere if you think outside the box. The key is "thinking" like your target audience. 

martinwaxman
martinwaxman moderator

@kaitfowlie Great point - it's important to remember our audience always comes first! 

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