Q1: What balance between traditional and rich media do you see and how do you see it evolving?
Terry: Mainstream media relations is harder and harder to generate. Fewer reporters chasing more stories. It’s harder now to get earned media challenge than it has ever been. What better time then for a new media channel to emerge? We’re still figuring out how to use it. Organisations ought to be dipping their toe in the social media waters. Companies need to find their authentic voice. Social media is a real opportunity.
Dave: It’s not a recipe I would prescribe. The strategy will drive the tactics. Be fairly agnostic with how you communicate, but use the tactics that fit best. Doesn’t mean you can’t take a risk and try a few things in the space. You definitely can’t ignore what’s happening in the social media space.
Martin: It depends. Are you going out to trade only? Are you going out for something bigger? Monitoring is the first place to start. You want to know what is being said. What is exciting is how the groundswell can be community driven (ex: Twestival). There is starting to be a big crossover between traditional and social media.
Q2: Blogger relations – where is it heading?
Martin: In the traditional model, PR people had relationships with journalists. Things have since changed. The PR industry became broadcasters, sending press releases to hundreds and hundreds of journalists. Social media is hopefully getting all communicators back to the basics. Hopefully that will be good for the reputation of the industry.
Terry: I like what’s happening in the social media space in that its transparency and authenticity is influencing how we do traditional media relations. The pitch needs to be more customized. The investment in time is more important.
Q3: How do you find companies are embracing social media? How do we deal with approvals (legal etc)?
Dave: The world has changed from the days of being able to respond in days vs minutes. The success that I’ve seen happen is when there’s some senior buy-in. In that case, they can push the mandate through. A lot of companies get religion in social media when they have a problem and realize they need to be better prepared to handle social media.
Martin: The point about PR approval is a really good one. Organizations need to protect themselves. They have liability issues. The legal department is the gatekeeper, while we’re trying to have authentic and transparent conversations.
Terry: You can win in the court of law, but lose in the court of public opinion. Clients are astonished to find critical Tweets. PR professionals can deal with them quickly and turn opinion around. Need parameters to respond and engage in the conversation.
Q: Is the social media press release dead?
Dave: I’m a bit of a crank on this one. I’ve always looked at a social media press release not as an evolution or bright light, but as an online electronic press kit. We used to send them out on CDs. It is a place to put multimedia content around a client’s traditional static text press release. It is just content. Used as a blogger relations headquarters. Is an easy place to point people to get content. You’re much better using these sorts of things as things that live and breathe as opposed to one-off press releases. Configure it so you can add to the future as new content emerges.
Terry: I would add that in the social media press release, they started to put quotations as a separate part of the press release.
Martin: I don’t think the news release is dead. The social media news release is the same thing, just with better and added functionality.
Q: Reputation and PR companies. Is it time that PR had a regulatory body?
Martin: I’m a CPRS accreditation coach, so I’m a big proponent of accreditation. It will hopefully give the industry more professionalism.
Q: Future of print media
Dave: I think the economic model for media has changed. That is what’s killing them. The need for news isn’t changing. The financial situation around print media, the costs of production, delivery, of writers, is a problem. Much as it is in the music industry. It’s not news and the need for news that will change. Consumer generated news won’t replace professional journalism, but professional journalism will change significiantly.