Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Cobblers’ children? PR and blogs

Sally Whittle has some interesting observations on how well (or not) PR companies do at keeping their own blogs updated and interesting.

It raises some good questions: do PR agencies need to be active in all areas of social media to qualify as experts in the area? Do we have to maintain blogs, twitter feeds, Facebook groups and flickr profiles? Is blogging evidence enough in itself that we ‘get’ this space?

Without doubt, if we do this stuff ourselves, it helps us give our clients advice on how they should do it – but I suspect that in an attempt to be seen as cutting edge, PR teams are trying to take on more than they can manage effectively. But what we do, we need to do well.

Participating in social media is not just about being seen, but being heard – and building relationships. Potential clients will Google you. They’ll skim through your Twitter posts; check out your Facebook page, your LinkedIn profile, blog and website to get the truth behind the pitch, just as any modern recruiter would do for a candidate. We should be incorporating social media into our overall marketing plans and insuring that we:

1) Only participate in social media that is truly relevant (how many micro-blogging services do we need?)
2) Actively participate by updating our own blogs and profiles whilst contributing to others
3) “Trimming the fat” – regularly assessing what we have signed up to and its assessing its true value
4) Make sure that whatever you take on, you do well.

We’re all guilty of not doing all this – even the biggest agencies. Certainly my new year’s resolution is to spend more time focusing on social media that really works well for me, and for Carrot.


Mat Morrison said...

How much should one participate? I'd suggest that blogging is not, in fact, central to being a good PR any more than having a column in a trade mag is central.

We shouldn't do everything that we suggest our clients should do. Nor should we do everything that we want our media contacts do.

Blog only enough to get your hands dirty. Enough to understand that only 1/3 of blogging is writing copy (the rest is about promoting yourself and managing your broader community I suspect.)

Try stuff out enough to have an informed opinion. But that's all you need to do.

Anything more is just a bonus!

Kate Hartley said...

Mat - I agree; we absolutely don't have to do everything we tell our clients to do - only what is relevant to us and that achieves what we want from our blog (which I guess IS actually what we should be telling our clients to do...!). But the point about creating and managing a broader community is spot on, and really the essence of 'digital' PR.