Media Relations and Your Publics

As you probably know, media relations is not simply about PR pros sending out news releases, pitch letters and marketing messages, hoping for a response, let alone a media placement.

It is about relationships and getting to know each other through listening and learning. This is definitely true for social media.

When we follow someone on Twitter, friend or fan a person or company on Facebook, connect with another professional on LinkedIn, or comment on a blog, our goals are clear: discover common ground, contribute to the conversation, and cultivate mutually rewarding relationships.

In their book, Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, authors Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge discuss How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR.

They explain that because social media engages and is influenced by us, we must take the time to understand our potential publics (individuals or groups), establish trust and build an authentic identity or brand.

Solis and Breakenridge offer many helpful insights and approaches to the new PR. One is their “top ten list of how to target people through Social Media or traditional media”:

  1. Determine your value proposition and the most likely markets that will benefit from your news.
  2. Humanize and personalize the story. One version no longer cuts it.
  3. Identify the people you want to reach and how they prefer to see information.
  4. Read and watch their work.
  5. Participate in their communities and use their tools of choice (but as a person first, not as a PR spammer). Don’t start pitching right out of the gate.
  6. Monitor the vibe and how people share information within their communities. Learn the dynamics and the rules of engagement. Listen. Learn. Respect.
  7. Don’t pitch. Stand out. Be compelling.
  8. Use a variety of approaches but without spamming.
  9. Don’t forget the traditional tools that work. Make sure that you cultivate relationships across the board.
  10. Repeat the previous steps as you move across the disparate groups of people you need to reach. This is how to do PR across the bell curve of customer adoption and in the Long Tail [book by Chris Anderson].

First Person PR pros should remember that “who we are today is not who we will be tomorrow.”

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