Your Smartphone and Reaching Stakeholders: the Power of Mobile Tech

by Jill Foster on July 1, 2009

Within three feet, 24/7
More than ninety percent of Americans are within three feet of their cell phones twenty-four hours a day. This is especially true if you’re a communications director, spokesperson, PR advisor, or press secretary. But communications professionals aren’t just using their ever-present mobile devices to call reporters. They’re also using these devices to bypass reporters.

Harnessing mobile tech
Today’s most successful communicators are harnessing the power of mobile technology to directly—and swiftly—reach consumers, constituents, and key audiences. For most PR professionals, digital communications used to mean blasting press releases via email to multiple reporters (a vast improvement over saying the same thing dozens of times a day, during dozens of different phone calls). New technologies have brought welcome upgrades and redefined communications outreach.

The capabilities provided by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (just to name a few) have drastically altered the communications landscape by expanding opportunities and improving speed and efficiency.

Driving more direct contact
Each day, the barriers that separate communications officers and those running their business from targeted audiences are lowered further. Reporters are no longer the gatekeepers of information. New tools and social media platforms are driving more direct contact, engagement, and information sharing.

Although a successful communicator should engage in all types of media outreach, she no longer has to rely on mainstream press outlets to deliver core message at lighting-speed. With Smartphone in hand, she can do that herself (image Fast Lane by Clawzctr, Creative Commons).

Without a desktop or TV
According to a recent survey of chief communications officers, the function most frequently added to their departments last year was social media. Now that social networking is an integral part of communications outreach, many are wondering what’s next. How can up-to-the-minute information and key messages be delivered even more quickly, clearly, and conveniently? How can communications teams reach people who aren’t in front of a computer or television?

The answer is already in the hands of 270 million Americans.

Real-time news demands rapid response.

The New York Times recently reported,

“For a growing swath of the population, the social expectation is that one is nearly always connected and reachable almost instantly via e-mail.”

Instant response empowered by mobility (and mojos)
Although a near-instant response time is expected today, this is nearly impossible without mobile devices.
As the demand for real-time news has increased, more and more newspapers are employing mobile journalists (known as “mojos”) and soliciting help from citizen journalists and bloggers. These information distributors must deliver news quickly. As a result, communications tactics are shifting. Communications professionals must respond rapidly and succinctly, providing key information in the most efficient dosage possible. The mobile platform is the clear catalyst for this type of outreach, making it critical to fulfilling consumer demand for up-to-the-minute news.

Mobile devices are becoming the most important sources of information for consumers.

Big numbers show mobile’s growth
MediaBistro just cited a comScore report, which found that, “over the past year, the number of people accessing news and info via their mobile phone on a daily basis rose from 10.8 million in January 2008 to 22.4 million in January of this year.” The number of people checking the web from a cell phone on a weekly basis grew from 10.3 million to 19.3 million (87%). This trend is widely expected to continue.

Mobile platform bolstering success
While the combined use of phone calls, email, social networks, websites and online video has proved enormously effective and remains important, bringing all communications to the mobile platform will bolster this success. It’s clear that mobile is allowing for the creation of innovative, low-cost information-sharing services. Successful communications teams will capitalize on the new outreach opportunities the mobile platform provides.

As we move forward, the mobile platform will surely bring additional outreach opportunities and it’s likely that communicators will be busier than ever…but at least we won’t be chained to our desks!

More resources:

  • Mobile audio and video platform Utterli;
  • Audio content delivered to your cell phone by Foneshow;
  • Streaming live video through your Smartphone via Qik.


Guest contributor Brin Frazier is vice president at Tin Can Communications, a public affairs and new media focused communications firm in Washington, D.C. Prior to this, she served as Speechwriter & Deputy Communications Director on the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce.

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