By Kelly Indrieri, August 2007
You can’t be in PR today and ignore the facts. Fact oneseveral hard copy publications are moving exclusively online. Fact twomedia companies are consolidating. Fact threenew media is here to stay and is quickly becoming a leading outlet for telling your story. Everyone is blogging. Search engine optimization (SEO) is common place in the corporate world and you can’t turn around without hearing something about YouTube or Myspace.com. A strong social media strategy can really set your company apart from the competition and extend your business’ thought leadership outreach and touch a broader audience. Your public relations team can help you to navigate these new (sort of) waters.
First, let’s address blogging. Technorati, one of the largest search engines for blogs, is currently tracking 75 million blogs with 175,000 new blogs being created daily. Blogging has become mainstream and it’s here to stay. Heck, I think my grandmother even has a blog, but the question iswhat does this mean to PR? The answereverything! Blogging is the great equalizer and people are getting their information from these citizen journaliststhe key as a PR executive is to cut through the clutter and make sure you are reaching those legitimate blogs to bring your client the added value that can come from these outlets. Another role of your PR team is to ensure that your corporate blog remains relevant, avoids hype, addresses market trends (not your products), and is continually being linked to other influential blogs in your online community. Lastly, and most importantly, when creating a corporate blogmake sure you are doing it for the right reasonsdon’t jump on the bandwagonthink it out. It will pay off in the long run.
A second step to a winning social media strategy is podcasting. According to InfoWorld research, it is the “second favorite way” for people (including decision makers) to receive informationnext to print publications. Podcasting offers controlled production and messaging. It’s inexpensive and excellent for promoting a problem and evangelizing the solution. And finally, it’s measurable. You can easily tell how many people are downloading your podcast. Your PR firm should help you identify opportunities to partner with key outlets and industry partners to develop a podcast as well as assist you in the development of content.
In addition to blogging and podcasting, it is important to utilize other social media outlets, including SEO, webinars, webcasts, RSS news feeds and even YouTube and Myspace.com. Your PR firm will work with you to capitalize on these new media outlets to maximize their effectiveness for your company. At the end of the day, the key to a strong social media strategy is to think it through, avoid hype, stay honest, and never try to represent something you/your company is not. Remember, your dealing with a group of people that can see astroturf from a mile awayso stay REAL!