Over the last year or so, one of the kinds of planning that I’ve been hearing more and more of is propagation planning. Propagation planning is planning that reaches a tier of people beyond those your agency directly connects with through its work, by providing a core group of people with material they find useful enough to spread on their own.
In the words of Griffin Farley, Strategy Director at BBH New York, “planning not for the people you reach, but the people that they reach, by giving them assets to propagate.”
Propagation planning has assumed increased importance lately because it puts influencers in the limelight, as opposed to assuming they are just another cog in the generic PR wheel, which encompasses multiple traditional offline PR elements as well as digital ones.
Word-of-mouth initiated by influencers is key to the success of any campaign or project, and propagation planning makes the spread of word-of-mouth a more researched exercise. I’d like to clarify two things here: one, that by word-of-mouth I don’t mean merely blogger outreach, which a lot of social media agencies do, and two, that by ‘influencers’ I don’t necessarily mean people who are big in the social media world – I mean people who are passionate, knowledgeable and who occupy positions of influence within niche communities. These communities will need to be selected according to the nature of your campaign (tech people, parents, artists, writers, movie fanatics and so on), and the strategy shouldn’t take a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
At Made by Many, we’ve made propagation planning a larger part of our work over the recent past. As I searched for relevant information about this discipline, I realised that there just wasn’t enough, and that what existed was dispersed across a number of places. Taking matters into my own hands, I decided to set up a wiki to document all these pieces of content, and Griffin kindly agreed to be a key part of it.
You can find the wiki here. Don’t forget to check out the sidebar with its different categories (including useful files and Slideshare presentations from Griffin). Comments, suggestions on information that should be included, and discussions about propagation planning itself are welcome here. I’ve kicked the first one off: how is propagation planning different from engagement planning and connections planning?