So you've got your budget in place, lots of new initiatives under way and your company is ready to top the charts with news and buzz.
That's all fine and good, but you gotta have more than that.
You have to have an internal resource - often not the VP of Marketing who can be a go to person who can take ownership of the client / agency relationship.
Years ago, PR was pretty much handled by a VP of Marketing or the Director of Marketing Communications. We developed communications strategies, wrote traditional press releases, did outreach to the media and industry analysts and it all worked very well.
Now, with Social Media, the team and the nature of what we do has expanded. There is a shift to voices - and having multiple voices in a company. Often times, it's in real time. The voice of my clients are found on Blogs, conversations on other blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and yes, in industry analyst reports and traditional media.
Before you move forward, it's important to make sure that if I call on an internal resource for product information, technology clarification, input on messaging, availability to be interviewed, or integration with your IT department for social media initiatives, everyone on the team has buy-in and is willing to make the time to integrate strategic PR and Social Communications into the mix.
Today, I spoke briefly at the San Antonio North Chamber Luncheon on the subject of Social Media in the Enterprise. Most of my talk was centered on internal policies, mostly dealing with employees and team members.
I think the overriding principle should be: "use common sense and don't be mean or stupid." Your mileage will vary, but at the very least you should have some type of policy or policy initiative in place.
The presentation is on SlideShare or you can download and print here:
Whenever I talk about doing traditional press releases, I generally get a blank stare or a look of disbelief.
Typical Responses I get to the notion of press releases and heaven forbid, using a Wire Service like BusinessWire or PR Newswire.
"Who reads news releases?"
"No one is going to just pick up a news release."
"Why can't we just announce what we have to say on the social web and count on others to spread the word?"
"Our fans on Twitter will Tweet this thing up."
"OMG- news releases are so.... Web 1.0"
Here's my belief: when appropriate, news releases matter, have impact and actually work. They are not a substitute for the social web, they are part of your overall communications strategy.
If you are publicly traded, then it's a no-brainer that you have to have traditional news releases for disclosure and compliance issues. And if you are not, I still believe that select, strategic news merits the time and minor expense of a news news release.
1. Writing a news release is more formal and makes you really think through what you are saying and how you want to reflect the written word about your company.
2. Investors, partners, suppliers, and your other publics will still mosey on into your press room to see what's news, how you report your news, and the wording and editorial strategy you take.
3. The written word is very much a part of your overall brand experience. How you write, the tone and choice of words is very much akin to the graphical image you project, the company culture you promote and the quality of customer service you aim for.
4. News releases, if applied correctly, can be searched (and found) on Google. They are also a platform which can easily be re-published and spread by your stakeholders on the social web.
5. A well written and well crafted news release illustrates team work and common vision.
There is more to a news release than just the mechanics of writing and pitching.
Oh, and speaking of pitching, yes, I still do very traditional pitching. And that's a whole other post in its own right.
Here's a hand form you can use to get the press release writing process going.
Any comments on you belief (or disbelief) in using press releases? How do you and your team writing your press releases?
Here's client, John Dickson, Principal of Denim Group, previewing his RSA 2009 presentation, "What You Don't Know Can Hurt You: Security Professionals and Custom Applications." John speaks on Friday, April 24 at 10:10 AM. Follow John on Twitter @johnbdickson. If you are interested in meeting with John at RSA2009, please email me: alan at weinkrantz dot com.
Tony Berkman, CEO of San Antonio-based BlogCatalog and BloggersUnite articulates the role of social media and how his BloggersUnite site helps causes join together through the power of the blogosphere, while remaining political neutral. Kudos to Patricio Espinoza, who is doing a great job of reporting on and more importantly, telling a fair and balanced story about the Mayoral race in our town via his SA4Mayor site.
Often times starting with a new client, I will set up a "deep dive" session, so I can get up to speed on industry lingo, terminology and nuances in the messages and strategy that my team and I will be developing for the client.
While deep diving certainly has its role, it's important to keep the deep dive in perspective. I will never become as expert as the client. Nor will the account team or the writer(s) I work with.
That's why the client has a CTO.
My goal in deep diving is simple:
1. What do we want to say?
2. How do we want to say it?
3. Who do we want to broadcast our messages to?
Part 1 has to do with messages. Regardless of the medium, that never changes.
Part 2 has to do with in what form. As a rule, it's been traditional press releases, application stories, interviews, contributed stories, speaking gigs and more.
But that's changing.
Sure, we stick to the basics of traditional PR, but we're now more engaging and conversational and so is the client as a thought leader. More clients are starting to publish blogs under our direction. Ditto with simple and powerful videos that are published and going viral to specific markets on YouTube.
Part 3 has to do with journalists, analysts and of course bloggers. Depending on the industry and who has influence, your mileage may vary in terms of who you reach out to and how.
Yes, I still do traditional pitches, but I am also big on the principle of "being found."
If you produce content that is tagged right and authored well, you'll be found.
Time and time again, I get journalists who tell me that one of the reasons they covered a particular client, is because they were able to find the client in the context of a story they were writing.
Deep Diving is good.
But keep it in perspective.
The objective of deep diving is to get your PR/Social Media consultant up for air so he / she can start pitching and getting coverage for you; and not drown.
Launching a brand? Thinking of a new product concept or business expansion concept?
You're going to need a brand.
Before you go the traditional route of hiring an Ad Agency, Graphic Design Firm, or a Freelance Artist, check out IncSpring.
In a nutshell, IncSpring is a marketplace for brands. You can buy a brand, often times which also includes a good-to-go URL and even work directly with the seller of the brand to extend the graphics into brochures, packaging, business cards and more.
My "Conversations" series continues with travels to the Rio Grande Valley, where I met Shaine Mata. Shaine has an interesting story to tell and vision to share. From being a migrant farm worker to blogging, to State Government work in Austin and back to his home the Valley, Shaine sees using Social Media tools like Twitter to create an Twitterland without borders between the U.S. and its neighbors in Mexico.
Debbie Weil Debbie Weil, aka the MonaLisaOfBlogging.com, is a corporate blogging and online communications consultant and the author of the forthcoming "The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get It Right" for Penguin Portfolio (2006).