2/20/10 10:36 PMWriting the conversation: How social media is redefining PR’s content creation: PRSAPage 1 of 2http://www.prsa.org/Intelligence/Tactics/Articles/view/8509/1007/Writing_the_conversation_How_social_media_is_redef
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Public Relations Tactics
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Writing the conversation: How social media is redefining PR’scontent creation
February 1, 2010The explosion of social media, combined with the decline of traditional media, presents a new challenge for PR writing.How do we shift focus from our message to our audience,while still crafting campaigns that are measurable, goal-driven and compelling? It is as simple — and as difficult — asadopting a different mindset.
The old-school press release
Fordecades, thetriad of print media, journalistic standards
and the AP Stylebook-driven press release meant that PR professionals could key in on content.Because PR writing was aimed primarily at journalists whowere in turn reporting to a passive readership, there waslittle motivation to understand the wants, needs and opinions of the individuals who were using a product or service. “Publics” and “audiences” were addressed, but there wasn’t true familiarity. A s a result,Brain SolisandDeirdre Breakenridge, co-authors of “Putting thePublic Back inPublic Relations,” wrote
that the old-fashioned press release didn’t changemuch for 100 years.
Then Web 2.0 happened. Anyone, from anywhere, could create and distribute content. Now, Facebook users sharemore than 3.5 billion pieces of content while popular YouTube videos can garner more than100 million views.Suddenly, the conversation is going on all around you. Your brand is being evangelized, dismissed, measured anddocumented in real time online. If you haven’t already done so, then it’s time to join the conversation and show yourcompany or client cares — a mission perfectly suited for the PR professional. As social media adviser Chris Brogan blogged recently onChrisBrogan.com, “the people who know how to storytell inthis new space, and who know how to be a personality while telling these stories, are poised to do interesting things.The medium has changed. The methods have changed. The opportunity has changed.”
Blogger and journalist outreach
Bloggers and journalists are still critical influencers, and most PR practitioners are adept at identifying them, cultivatingrelationships with them and supplying relevant stories and information.Twitter lists provide an excellent way to keep tabs to spot blogger relation opportunities, and social media releasesprovide visual, textual and social content in a useful format. BrianSolis.com features an educational tutorial on socialmedia releases, andPitchEngine.comis a powerful, free social media release creator.
Social network participation
“Go to where the people hang out and write about them on their terms,” digital strategistSteve Farnsworthsuggests. A social media-optimized online press room is wonderful for your Web site, but the majority of your customers aresomewhere else — Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, forums or blogs.Locate and listen first, then join the conversation respectfully. Each venue has a culture and an etiquette that must behonored, yet far too many so-called experts still use these channels for boorish one-way broadcasts.
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