Lee Odden

The Future of PR: Media Relations Summit 2008

Union Square San Francisco

Our client visit to San Francisco last week fell right next to the Media Relations Summit conference happening this week at the Westin St. Francis on Union Square. The near crossover meant a weekend in one of my favorite cities.


As one of the largest conferences dedicated to media relations, this event attracts an array of public relations practitioners including the top PR agencies in the world, large and small corporate PR staff and academics from PR programs at major universities. Overall theme seems to be looking to the future.

I am joined by media relations specialist, Kevin Sawyer who will be blogging the event over at Media Relations Blog. Today was made up of pre-conference intensives and workshops. Monday and Tuesday sessions are filled with high level and practical how to programming.

This next one is tough!

  • “Measuring Your Impact in Online Media” – Katie Paine, KDPaine & Partners


  • “Influencing the New Influencers: Blogs, Podcasts, Online Video” – Paul Gillen Communications

There’s an awards lunch which I’m not sure I’ll go to except they typically have some celebrity speaker. Not sure who it will be this year. Then the afternoon sessions will start:

Now, another tough one:

  • “Following the Conversation: How to Monitor Reputation in an Online World” – Pete Blackshaw, Nielsen Online and Rob Stokes, Quirk Marketing


  • “Crafting a Powerful, Cost-Effective Social Media Strategy” – Sally Falkow, Expansion Plus and Brian Solis, Future Works PR

One question I have, is why so many people in the PR industry (client side) are so afraid of putting budget towards social media strategy? Why does it always have to be characterized (by PR practitioners and conferences) as “low cost”? I think it’s because the industry as a whole is scared that it’s ability to change with the times won’t be fast enough and that areas like social media are direct threats to their comfort zone of business as usual.

I’m looking forward to hearing what Sally and Brian have to say in their session as two of the most respected PR and social media practitioners that I know.

There are several sessions in the final time slot for Monday, but the one I’m really looking forward to is:

  • “Blogger Relations: Inside the Hearts and Minds of Top Online Pundits” Tom Foremski of Silicon Valley Watcher, Om Malik of Giga Om, Craig Newmark of Craigslist.org and Jon Greer of BNET/Media Bridge.

There’s another great schedule for Tuesday as well. I will be speaking later in the day on the “Secrets of Increasing Traffic to Your Corporate Website” session with Brian Kaminski of iProspect and David Hulme of Vision Media.

During both days of the conference I’ll be blogging a few sessions and will post those most relevant to the SEO/PR/Social Media mix we typically write about here at Online Marketing Blog. The media relations and PR specific sessions will be blogged by Kevin over on our Media Relations Blog.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Stephanie Cox says

    I look forward to reading your reviews on the sessions. Looks like you have a great day lined up!

  2. As you said, change is the key. It’s not easy. They’re used to certain ways /process/techno that have existed for years but are now becoming slowly (or quickly should I say) obsolete. But when they’re realize how better the new way is, how much value they can derive from social media, most will adapt and embrasse the change. It will take time and it will be painful in between because they have to unlearn. Right now only the early adopters and may be small companies/start ups are in it. The laggards will follow 😉

  3. Avatar Nicole Lascelle says

    As a longtime “offline” PR who has just stuck her toe online (38 days now and counting), I’m excited by the changes in the industry and am a willing sponge soaking up info on the “new” PR and best practices for SEO/social media/PR and so much more. Fact is, I want to be a better consultant. Luckily I found your blog right away. I’m looking forward to reading and learning from your reviews.

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