Thursday, July 30, 2009

Is the PR industry challenged by social media?

I came across a very interesting discussion on LinkedIn, titled: A Tale Of PR And Social Media. Apparently, the message is: for many PR agencies, working or even grasping social media is a nightmare.

So, is the PR industry really challenged by social media? Perhaps, yes!

Can it overcome this challenge? Of course!

Business social media, or even social media, surely helps speaking in the language your target audience appreciates and understands.

However, it seems that PR folks haven't really come to terms with all of this. The PR industry should realize that bombarding press releases to bloggers don't help at all and neither do requests to write about specific companies and their initiatives.

In fact, I haven't even seen PR take help of bloggers and other social media platforms immensely.

What I did find some PR folks doing was to try and send media invitations over some social media networks, or even open some specific page for a particular company and then send requests to join that page or group!

Maybe, these will work in the short run, but definitely not in the long run. Friends in the PR, that's definitely not going to help you meet your needs!

On a personal note, I sometimes get tired of PR folks asking me for leads so they can make new clients. I have helped a few in the past, but that's when I used to be part of the media.

Well, would such PR folks pay me -- if I did provide solid leads? No, they would not! And well, would PR agencies share their client details with me? No, unless, I have a particular story to write, which would feature that company, and well, am part of a big publishing house.

A lot of PR folks and even companies get in touch with me daily with some request or the other. However, the moment I speak about some payment, I receive mixed responses. Perhaps, they all are not ready yet to pay bloggers since we are all used to content being available free. However, this free thing won't stay for long... :)

This is also a reason why bloggers like to avoid PR firms and probably, even some companies, for that matter! Why publicize someone when that person getting publicity won't even pay you? Fair enough!

If you also notice, some of the best content is available on blogs. That's the reason why companies are now having bloggers on their payrolls, or have independent blogs! Not only is it cheaper to host content, you are also assured of real quality content from top-notch bloggers.

I'd like to highlight a case here, and this one is not from me, but from a well known blogger covering DAC 2009.

Why are we doing this?
We want to reach out to the press/bloggers at DAC, but not with a traditional press conference. Rather than discuss new product announcements, etc., we’d rather discuss design trends and have a lively debate about what they mean!

A panelist discusses a point of view on the topic for three minutes (and no more). No slides, but strong opinions are solicited. We then open the floor to the bloggers for a spirited discussion.

Wow! I am really elated to even read this! Wonder when we can have such events or blogfests here in India!

Well, how many PR firms, or even companies, would be bold enough and like to do such a thing? Both of them should try to find a win-win situation where they can make full use of social media and bloggers, and also help bloggers make some money too!

I feel that a huge opportunity is out there for companies, PR, bloggers, etc.

So many well known bloggers have their own tweets...those can be made use of so successfully! Why, even placing a Twitter or Facebook link on a print magazine or newspaper would help immensely! :)

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