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JobJacking III

(October 9, 2006)
The Incredible Shrinking Audience. That was the title of the Waggener Edstrom webcast we joined last week. The premise was that the target of a well run PR campaign is no longer a sweet hit in a single media target. Rather, it is a groundswell of attention built around the information consumption and production of influencers.

No longer is the target the lowest common denominator. We've left the broadcast world behind and now encounter audiences composed of individuals rather than statistics. Brands can no longer instruct their audiences in proper behavior. They have to lead by example in small settings.

According to the panel, "search" is what changed things. Google et all have eroded big brands' hold on their audiences by providing a freedom of choice. (We think that's a big media view...audiences have always been smart; choice used to be more limited. Search simply reveals the change that's happening.)

For sure, media is in the midst of a massive transformation. It was clear from listening to the panel that the mainstream folks have a spectator's perspective on the process. Things are moving and they don't really get it.

That's funny. Waggener Edstrom seems to get it. Their architecture on a variety of Microsoft new media projects (blogs and other campaigns) are effective and savvy. The team they assembled for this webcast, however, are busy soldiers in the transformation and had a distinctly myopic view.

It's like that in the trenches. The real problem was that the webinar didn't deliver on it's title, "The Incredible Shrinking Audience". The panelists were so busy trying to out identify trends with each other that they didn't talk about what a small audience means. Instead, they kept falling back to ideas about aggregating audiences for larger purposes.

That's how big media wants the future to be. The panel's chair worried that reaching smaller audiences was too overwhelming and that success was too hard to measure. The theme that these are new ways of doing old things, trying to soothe the anxieties of old school customers kept ringing clearly.

The JobJackers have this old fashioned view of audiences. Somehow, the good old days with their monolithic focus on the lowest common denominator. The more you can aggregate the interests of a million small users, the more money you'll make.

It's just not like that.

Small audiences are discrete markets with discrete management issues. When you combine them without respect for the unique character of each set of relationships, you cheapen the possibilities. Doing so without the permission of the players is arrogant, inexcusable and damaging.

The micromarket, whether it's a single job board, a company employment section, a blog or a job listing on a blog, is an intimate encounter (even if it's badly executed). The real value is in the details of the encounters and can be best explored by plowing further into the details. The temptation to make it bigger and better is in direct opposition to the real source of value.


The Waggener Edstrom materials on blogs and PR are very useful. Try:

  • Working with Real-Time Media to Maximize PR (pdf)
  • Engaging the Blogosphere: Creating Connections, Fueling Conversations (pdf)
  • The Expanding Scope of Influence (pdf)

    (Side note: In the first article on this subject, we noted that CareerCast pioneered job scraping. Of course that was back in the start of the history of the company now known as Adiccio)

    John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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