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:
One of my New Year's resolutions was to be more purposeful in developing my personal brand. I wrote about this subject in my January column in the San Antonio Express-News.
I have been following the sage advise of Personal Brand Master, Dan Schwabel, along these lines.
Aside from being present and actives on my blogs and on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc. I've also tried to be more present on BlogCatalog, which is what this post is really about.
In looking at how to mash up, and best represent myself on the Social Web, I recently bought alanweinkrantz.tel which is the new domain for that purpose.
While I really like the .tel concept, it does limit me in terms of graphically representing my brand. If you look at my profile on BlogCatalog, you can see what not only my presence, but a graphically pleasing mash up of my activity on Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc.
If you are developing your own personal branding strategies, BlogCatalog should be part of your mix. There is more to this site than just the blogosphere.
Disclosure: I have done consulting work for BlogCatalog in the past, but they are currently not an active client.
As more and more journalists are on Twitter, this might be a good way to follow and build relationships in your pitching efforts.
I just discovered Muck Rack, an online site that lists journalists who are active on Twitter.
The basic idea is good, but you still have to do your research: is the journalist who is Tweeting away appropriate for your pitch? If you are pitching technology, you probably won't want to pitch the travel Tweeter.
My suggestion is that before you engage, much less pitch, you might try following the person at the appropriate news site you are hoping to gain coverage in. Sometimes a simple phone call or brief email pitch (though somewhat old school) can still work and be very effective.
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.
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).