Five pro PR tips for working in social media

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With so much focus on new media, social media, blogs and communities at Blogworld in Vegas last week, it was refreshing to hear the panelists on the “PR in a 2.0 World” panel admit that some things haven’t changed. In fact, they said a lot of the strategies that worked in PR ten and even twenty years ago still work today.

“There are still traditional strategies that work really well,” said Heather Whaling, founder of Geben Communications. “You can’t abandon them. You have to figure out a way to use the two together.”

Heather and fellow panelists Todd Defren, Principle of Shift Communications, and Dave Fleet, VP of Edelman Digital Toronto, offered these five tips:

  1. Strategy. “We still ask: What are we trying to achieve? Who should we reach? How do we reach them?” says Dave. “The best people still think strategically, and social media doesn’t replace strategy. The fundamentals of communications strategy haven’t changed.”
  2. Research. So much research that could go into PR is being wasted on the shiny object of the day, says Todd. “Are your customers there? Are conversations happening there?” Asking these questions takes a lot of research.
  3. “Giving a crap,” says Dave. Take the time to read the blog before you pitch a blogger. “Understand what they like and how they want to be contacted. Try to provide value. Give them a reason to care.”
  4. Collaboration. Heather refers to a recent blog post she wrote titled The 5 C's of blogger relations. One part that is often overlooked is collaboration, says Heather. Think about how you can collaborate with bloggers and help them meet their business goals.
  5. Good pitches. Todd, who’s also a blogger says he can’t believe the quality of some of the pitches he receives. “As someone who’s been in the PR industry for a long time, I’m literally scandalized by some of the bad pitches I receive.”

Like I said, in many ways, these tips are PR basics applied to new media. You wouldn’t pitch a magazine editor without reading a few issues first. You try to get to know writers and help them meet their deadlines, cover their beats or provide information their audience enjoys. And you take the time to write a good pitch. You make it worth their time. And you develop a strategy to make it worth your time too.

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About Author

Alison Bolen

Editor of Blogs and Social Content

+Alison Bolen is an editor at SAS, where she writes and edits content about analytics and emerging topics. Since starting at SAS in 1999, Alison has edited print publications, Web sites, e-newsletters, customer success stories and blogs. She has a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University and a master’s degree in technical writing from North Carolina State University.

1 Comment

  1. Something Scott Stratten said in his opening keynote really resonated with me and it applies to everything you have just said Alison.
    "Social media only amplifies what are you are already doing".
    The truth is there were a lot of bad PR people before new media came along. New media just exposed them and let the world know how many bad PR people there are.
    By that same token there are a lot of good PR people to and social media is the best thing to ever happen to them.

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