What exactly, does Web 2.0, social media and even SEO have to do with public relations? Everything!
You’d be hard pressed to find any modern public relations agency practice that isn’t researching or already implementing a digital PR strategy including search engine optimization, blogging/blogger relations and social media. The winds of change are here and many Public Relations practitioners are scrambling to adjust to the opportunities presented by shifts in both consumer and journalist behavior online.
Look no further than popular Public and Media Relations conferences like PRSA International or some of the Bulldog Reporter events to see exactly how the PR industry is making a concerted effort to educate itself on how to adjust to new opportunities with Web 2.0., SEO and social media.
News SEO is distinctly different from SEO for lead generation since the desired outcome is not a new customer or a sale, but to be a source for a journalist writing a story and possibly an ongoing collaboration. News content optimization folds in nicely with digital asset optimization as we’ll be identifying the kind of content and assets most PR departments can best leverage for optimization.
Embrace the social, not the drive by. Some PR agencies have been able to fully embrace these shifts at their core, and not only become successfully involved with online communities but have been instrumental at facilitating PR’s role in the various online channels such as social networking, blogs and search. These agencies are best prepared to represent brands in a win-win situation over those firms that skim social media with drive by pitching and promotion tactics and without a full understanding of the medium.
Avoid the “dand bramage” of sloppy social. Not fully understanding social media communities for example, has resulted in far more brand damage rather than audience engagement. There’s an unfortunate history with some PR agencies of brand embarrassments as a result of fake blogs, user accounts on social news sites and fake social network participation. Apparently, when SEO consultants do this en masse, it’s perceived by some as an acceptable risk and by others as a bad marketing decision. Trying to fake the social web with an established brand is very risky and in my opinion, just plain stupid.
Get busy with Digital PR and public relationships. PR and media relations consultants and organizations are now charged with embracing the online culture of user generated media and the social web. Participation, transparency and conversation are the buzz words for the future of PR as in “Publicly Relating” or “Public Relationships”. The question is, “How to best start incorporating the new rules of the social web into a digital PR effort?”
To start answering that question, be sure to read tomorrow’s Part 2 post in this series on leveraging high/low tech for social media relations.