Thursday, October 23, 2008

Working the Social Media News Release

Today's consumer is more web savvy than ever before. It is the job of the public relations practitioner to accommodate to the consumer in order to form a positive relationship between the organization and the consumer. The consumer has demanded that an organization alter their message format, and the PR professional has done this through the use of a social media news release.

In recent years, the social media news release has become more and more important. This innovation has increased the ease of use for the media, as well as allowed them to easy accessibility to other online facets of one's organization. For example, by distributing a social media news release, the media or other intended target are able to quickly click on links to gain more information, such as a Web site, RSS feeds, or an organizations Facebook profile.

A blog post by Lee Oden offers some great reasons for using social media news releases. One of particular interest is the ability for the PR professional to help the journalist out, thus increasing media relations. Oden suggests that using this new type of press release helps publications who are expected to do more with less staff than ever before. By utilizing a social media press release, a journalist instantly has access to additional resources, images, video and audio without having to actively pursue these items.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Social Networking as a Form of Public Relations

Most of us love our Facebook or Myspace accounts. We check them daily to catch up with friends, or creep on people we barely even know. However, these sites have the potential to have a huge impact in public relations work.

According to a blog by
Yaxley, when using social networking to promote one's organization, it is important that the practitioner manage their time well. From being both a Facebook and Myspace user, I can see how someone could get easily caught up in looking at other things and forget the task at hand. Another tip she offers is to not be a lurker, but instead be actively engaged in conversing with people and making comments. This is extremely important, as one the essential elements of public relations is relationship building.

Using social networking is a great way for a practitioner to manage their time and develop relationships. Most people in today's world seem to prefer to communication by typing in some way, through e-mail, social networking sites, texting, etc. It seems that no one is ever in their office to answer phone calls. By utilizing social networking sites, a professional can leave a message that the potential consumer can retrieve and respond to whenever they like, even if they can't get a hold of the practitioner. This is especially vital when working with clients in different time zones as well.

If a PR professional is going to utilize social networks, it is essential that they check their networks just as often as they do their voicemail and e-mail. Likewise, they must update their pages regularly so people will not get bored with them and lost interest. One of the worst things I find is a page that has outdated information. Along those lines, I hate when I send a message to a company's social networking page and I do not get a response. This definitely does not build a relationship with me, and instead works to destroy that relationship. These are important elements that a PR professional should consider before beginning social networking; it has to become a part of the daily routine.

As they say, go big or go home. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

RSS in a PR world

This class is really my first time learning about the world of RSS (or Really Simple Syndication). Sure, I have heard of it before, but I've never really tried it out. When thinking about how I could use RSS in a public relations career, I can see that the positive aspects would far outweigh the negative ones.

Today we live in a world where spam filters and junk e-mail blockers have made it increasingly difficult for a public relations person to get messages such as newsletters and announcements to their target audience. One of the biggest benefits of RSS is that the consumer has the power to choose what they want. A public relations person no longer has to worry about CAN-SPAM and e-mail laws because the consumer is willingly signing up for their RSS feeds. The feeds are targeted so you are able to get the right information to the right people.

In the event of a crisis, I believe that RSS feeds would become even more useful to an organization. By using RSS feeds in a crisis, the public would be able to continuously follow the information as it becomes available. If you have a situation where people are missing, their names could be continuously added to a site and then sent immediately through RSS feeds, letting family members know their status. Loved ones far away could be able to track the progress on the crisis and the relief efforts.

The only real negative I can see is the inability to track readers. However, I think this is the case with anything. When an organization sends out a mailer or e-mails a newsletter, you never really know if the person read the material or not. The only real way to tell is if a conversion happens (i.e. a person reads the material and calls to order something). No matter which channel of communication one uses (snail mail, e-mail, RSS feeds) we will not be able to tell if the audience really paid attention. Therefore, why not give RSS fees a try? It's much cheaper than sending out an expensive mailer to hundreds of potential clients!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Using Blogs in PR

This week, we were asked to blog about how blogs are used from a PR perspective. Honestly, until this class, I never really thought much about using blogs for personal or professional reasons. I guess I just assumed that blogs were kind of like zanga, mostly just for people to keep a public diary of their lives. That certainly did not appeal to me, because I want my secrets to stay secret! :) However, in just the few short class periods we have had, my eyes have opened up to how pertinent blogs can be in the public relations profession.

Before I began to work as a Marketing and PR Assistant at The Great Game of Business, the organization had started Web site (separate from their main page) that included a resource library and message board-type forum. The site was started before blogs became mainstream, and at the time was a cutting-edge example of what blogs have evolved into. However, the problem is that the experts at my organization became too busy to keep up with the message board. I would love to start a new blog about our organization, but I cannot get buy-in from the people who would need to be contributors. I really think that for an organization to have a blog really shows commitment to their customers. To me, a blog is kind of like giving away free information and advice, which is a great value-add for your client. If anyone has suggestions on how to get buy-in, please let me know! I think this would be a great tool for our organization, but others just don't see the importance like I do. I think it may be both a generational and lack of time problem.

Although I can't get going on an organizational blog, my current job has certainly benefited from me being in this class. Since learning about the importance of blogs, I have taken those things we are talking about and implementing them at work. One of the first things I did was sign up for google alerts. I have google alerts on all of our organization's keywords. Due to this, any time someone blogs about any of our keywords, I am sent an e-mail that alerts me. I am able to click on a link to their blog and read what they wrote. This is important to the public relations of our organization because it allows me to monitor what people are saying about us. Or, if they aren't saying anything directly about us, but still saying something indirectly about us (i.e. not mentioning The Great Game of Business, but mentioning open-book management) I am able to reply to their message and try to get the blogger to contact us or get an expert on the subject, such as my boss, to lend advice. (It is important to note that whomever responds from my organization always mentions that they are employed at The Great Game of Business, so as to practice ethical public relations.) This helps to build a relationship between the blogger and our organization. It is also a great way to get publicity to readers of the blog who may have no idea what our organization is about.

Another way that blogs can be used from a public relations perspective is to set up google alerts for an organization's competitors. I have not had the chance to do this yet for my organization, but is definitely on my to-do list. Even if a blogger isn't talking about my organization, but instead writing about a competitor, I am gaining useful information by learning who is talking about our industry. By finding out what others are saying about my competitors, I am able to step in and offer advice. I am able to fill the holes that the competitor has left open. Likewise, if someone is unhappy with the service they received from a competitor, I am able to encourage the writer to try our services. I will know what upset them about the competitor, and actively work to make sure that those issues do not arise within my organization.