Archive for the 'WebPR' Category

Managing Perceptions Around Social Media - Does Your Client Get It?

Gerry McCusker’s post on PR asks if the term ”Social Media” is a misnomer and possibly acts as an inhibitor to adoption. The argument being that social media just sounds lightweight to many CEOs and traditional marketing heads.

“It’s that thing my kid spends all his time on instead of doing his homework, right? Too much socialising and nothing else.” But, the teens that’ve been brought up on social media have a very different perception of it - kind of like the way a fish feels about the water it swims in. It’s just part of the way they communicate and the way they work.

There’s not much we can do now about changing the actual term and we certainly don’t need to, because the users of social media completely get the purpose, usefulness and benefits of it (or at least many of them do). They are also our future CEOs and business leaders.

But what we can do in the meantime is to sharpen our skills on how we pitch the concept to those clients, CEOs and colleagues who couldn’t be bothered with this new web0.2-socialising-thingamajig. Public relations is largely about managing perceptions and that’s exactly what we need to do here.

The art of communication is finding a way of communicating your message so that it matches the values (or priorities) of your audience. Your client won’t rate the concept of webPR and blogging very highly if it’s only being done because it’s the lattest, hottest trend. That means nothing to a business person. But if you pitch your online marketing, social media and webPR plans in terms of real business objectives, then it’s far easier to grasp. Like the SEO benefits of driving more traffic to the website and thereby increasing sales; the ability to more easily establish, affect and monitor your online reputation, thereby creating more credibility and increasing sales; the ability to get faster feedback, make improvements and then increase sales.

It’s really all about the money at the end of the day. If social media simply comes across as a cool, trendy, fun, time-wasting thing to do, then the big corporates and traditional clients will never risk it. Smart public relations people will know how to rephrase their pitches with words like “influencers” instead of “bloggers”, “business networking” or “network media” instead of “social networks” to ensure that they’re using the language their audience understands best.

Popularity: 8% [?]

First South African Social Media Release

Social Media Press ReleaseSocial Media Press ReleaseThis week saw South Africa’s first online Social Media Press Release for the 2008 Standard Bank Pro20 cricket series - or at least that’s what the website says. I’m not 100% sure that it’s the first (there are several very smart webPR companies doing great behind-the-scenes work), but it’s certainly the first that I’ve come across. Perhaps it’s because this is the first local media release about a social media release.

I can’t help but wonder though, why did they call it a social media press release? The words “press release” really refer to the traditional way of gaining publicity through the printed press; whereas the words “media release” or “news release” are more inclusive and relevant for broadcast and online media. Perhaps “social media news release” or just simply “social media release” would work. But the terminology is a minor point, overall I feel that this is fantastic work by Standard Bank and all those who worked on this concept, including Cerebra, Brandsh and Melissa Attree.

All the information that a journalist or blogger would need is gathered in one place, from the quick facts at the top, to photos, video clips, quotes, match fixtures and contact details. If you want to see the updates to the release, you simply sign up for the RSS feed and you’ll always be able to access the freshest news around the Pro20.

Congrats to the marketers and the PR team for putting it all together in a simple way. I’m not sure how some of the traditional journalists will perceive this web2.0 thingamajig, but the easy-to-navigate, uncluttered layout will certainly help to convert the newbies. (This particular release was targeted at online journalists, bloggers, podcasters and videocasters.)

With the deadlines that some journalists suffer, they might moan about having to first click a link and wait for the page to load to see if the information is relevant to them or not. In this case, being able to quickly scan through the text in an email is easier. Or perhaps it’s just a habit, which means that it’s simpler to stick with the old ways of doing things? There will always be resistance to change and a social media release like this is certainly a big change from the usual press releases. 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” - Charles Darwin

I hope to see many more media releases like this one.

Popularity: 8% [?]

Wine, Facebook, SEO, Farming and Darts…

Add to that a food demonstration and this made for one of the most interesting and diverse PR-Net meetings I’ve attended in a while. It was held on Tuesday night at the QuirkStation (the offices of Quirk eMarketing) in Cape Town. With the exception of the food and wine, you’re wondering how the strange combination of elements in the title relates to public relations, right?

Well, in the case of the irrigation practices of the Perdeberg farming cooperative, it didn’t. But we politely listened to Kobus from Perdeberg Wines in exchange for the boxes of wine he shared with us during the evening. Thanks Perdeberg! Their PR company, Wired Communications, are doing some interesting work online. They’ve created the Clink to Win Facebook application to create awareness for the little wine brand - “it’s the one with the Zebra” we were told. Well done to them for trying something new.

After hearing about the details and successes of this online PR campaign, Rob Stokes, head of Quirk, introduced his newly launched venture to the PR-Net group. Despite recovering from flu, Rob gave a jam-packed presentation where he explained the importance of online reputation management and how BrandsEye helps companies track and rate their online reputation. I think that Rob and his team of QuirkStars must be congratulated for the excellent and pioneering work they’ve done on BrandsEye. It looks like a world-class product, which will transform the way PR, marketing and communications companies/departments manage their online reputation.

Of course, I’m particularly chuffed that my partner, Scott, was lucky enough to hit the right spot on the dart board to win a one-month trial of BrandsEye! :)

I’ll report back on my experience so you can see how it works for Encyclomedia.

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