Looking for the E

Posted on January 21, 2010. Filed under: Public Relations, Social Media | Tags: , , , , |

You will probably agree when I say that PR is first and foremost about persons and relationship. If we take for example the typical MADE workflow process of a PR professional (Monitor – Analyse – Discover – Engage), the most compelling and interesting part is definitely the E (Engage).

I’m very grateful that our teams at Dow Jones are offering many opportunities to meet media professionals, both from the “traditional” as well as from the social media space. During the recent launch of the Dow Jones Media Relations Manager, several roundtables and webinars have been organised. Influential bloggers and journalists participated and mingled with collegues and clients and discussed the impact of the Social Media revolution. I joined a webinar hosted by our team in Asia. Among the participants were Peter Stein from the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong and David Meerman Scott, named as one of the “Top Social Media Strategists to follow in 2010” by the Boston-based 451 Marketing.

My main take-aways from the event:

  • “Know your reporter and how to reach him” (Peter Stein) – PR people who want to engage with journalists should know exactly where they are sending their information to. Who are the reporters in charge? What are those reporters covering? What’s the best way to get in touch with them? Who are the backups?
  • Content is King – David Meerman Scott argues that 95% of the pitches he receives are spam. Like journalists, influential bloggers are also looking continuously for interesting stories and news. And if these are exclusives, even better. They will be picked up and go viral. Creating really good and valuable content has to be a key competency of the PR department.
  • All channels are possible – Traditional media are embracing social media. The Wall Street Journal is searching the web and Twitter for story ideas. Editors and journalists are also spreading news on Twitter. PR departments can’t ignore this.

I especially like the content argument. Traditional media releases are generally considered as dull and often of less value for journalists and bloggers. If the audience is considering them as spam, something is wrong and has to be changed. New forms of engagement will have to arise.

Georg Ackermann is the Barcelona Team Leader in the Dow Jones Media Lab.

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