PRBy Martin Waxman

OK – maybe I’m jumping the gun – but I’ve been caught up in the U.S. Thanksgiving/holiday spirit and I must have fast-forwarded to the end of 2013.

Have no fear, it’s not my final post of the year for Spin Sucks.

But I thought I’d kick off the annual round-up season by reflecting on six things I’ve learned in the past 11 months about digital media, social media and PR, from both a personal and business perspective.

1. Mobile first is harder than you think!

Yes, we know it’s important and soon mobile is going to be the primary platform for work, discovery, and communications. But many business people are acting like Hollywood moguls in the ‘50s.

And, like TV, mobile is not simply an add-on. To truly embrace it we need to shift our mindset, the way we conceive and share stories, and how we interact with our communities. Our idea-generation process requires a total makeover so we can dream big by imagining small.

2. Your website is like a classic car.

I redesigned my blog this year and when it was all done, I wanted to sit back and admire it. But I couldn’t. Because there were a ton of adjustments I wanted to make. Some tightening here, a new image there, a fresh category, changing the content flow. It didn’t stop.

That’s a different attitude from a few years ago when you got a new web design and that was that. Instead, let’s adopt a car buff’s mentality and realize the tinkering is never going to be done.

3. Social amplification has given publicity a new life.

Media relations… not so much.

If we think about publicity as the act of making something public, it has a real resonance with social networks. Because social channels are tailor made for distribution, conversations, and relationships. That’s what publicity is all about, too. And why social is so powerful when you integrate it with a publishing strategy.

4. Transmedia storytelling is coming to business.

You hear entertainment people talk about this a lot. Transmedia storytelling is all about bringing a story to life across and through a variety of digital platforms.

That’s different from simply repurposing content. It means understanding which parts of a narrative are best suited to which medium and then bringing it all together in a single, seamless experience.

That’s a challenge and opportunity for PR, and another reason we can no longer just rely on words. (Note: This may be more of a prediction.)

5. A state of feeling perpetually behind.

The pace of social media hasn’t slowed at all and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed (I sure do!).

But instead of feeling lost, let’s agree that in our new world, we’ll never be able to completely catch up. Rather than feeling snowed under by that realization, we can accept that not catching up is the new way of life. And that’s OK because we’re trading complacency for lifelong learning.

6. It’s really time to retire news releases.

I’ve said this for a while and so have a lot of other people. But maybe this is the year to take the PR mainstay out of our tool kits.

What do journalists and bloggers feel about them? I think we have a pretty good idea, but has the industry as a whole bothered to ask influencers how they like to receive information? It’s time to do that and adapt.

As you can see, this is a list of six. I’m hoping you’ll help me in the comments section by adding four more things you’ve learned.  Then, by the time the end of the year actually rolls around, we’ll have a solid top ten!

What have you learned this year that’s changed the way you look at the profession and storytelling?

Martin Waxman

Martin Waxman, MCM, APR, is a senior advisor to Spin Sucks and runs a consultancy, Martin Waxman Communications. He leads digital and social media training workshops, conducts AI research, and is a LinkedIn Learning author and one of the hosts of the Inside PR podcast. Martin teaches social media at McMaster University, the Schulich School of Business, Seneca College, and the UToronto SCS and regularly speaks at conferences and events across North America.

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