If PR is seen as the primary reason for launching a corporate blog and social media presence, why are so many people screwing it up? I mean, this is the easy one. The slam dunk. The low-hanging fruit. The fish residing in a barrel that even I could shoot without a spotter or a scope. Well, the problem is that PR professionals are focusing on the wrong stuff. Either they want to do traditional PR forced through social media channels (which, frankly, isn’t the end of the world … I’m a big fan of this in the broader marketing space). Or, they commit so fully to the social media space that they lose the benefits that come with what they’ve been doing for an entire career.
The solution, as always, is somewhere in the middle. The underlying principles of communicating with the media – and using this as a way to communicate with your target market – really don’t change in a world where Facebook and Twitter have larger populations than many large countries. You need a bit of balance to make social media tools effective for communicating with the press and the public So, let’s take a look at four ways o keep from screwing up … and maybe even drive a little extra value:
1. Don’t give up your press releases: you’ll need them to promote your social media presence, both up front and on an ongoing basis. Also, you’ll be shocked (SHOCKED!) to hear that some reporters and bloggers actually like press releases (I’m among them). What you need to do is integrate the use of press releases into a broader content strategy that allows you to promote what’s on your corporate blog and attract an audience that will be more likely to return. This shouldn’t require any radical changes to how you use press releases, so in a sense, keep doing what you’re doing (just plug your blog into it).
2. Know what your readers want: if you are using your corporate blog specifically to speak with the media – or have a portion of it that exists for that purpose – don’t go overboard with features that aren’t necessary or useful. Think about what your target market (in this case, the media) will want to see, and make sure it’s available. Do you really need to build a community? No. Instead, focus on basic branding to make sure they know about your environment and remember to come back.
3. Remember who your audience is: when I wrote for DailyFinance, I regularly hit the Twitter corporate blog. I do this now for these companies and others for SocialTimes – and I know I’m not the only one. These blogs do have a variety of reasons for existing, and PR is among them. With Twitter, especially, you can tell. The company has taken it to a broader audience more recently, but for a long time, it felt like a true alternative to press releases. My point? You could tell all this from reading it. It was immediately identifiable as a PR tool.
4. Make sure you have news to publish: an empty corporate blog won’t get you much PR value. You need to feed the beast! Develop a plan – and partner with the corporate bloggers on this – to make sure you have something newsworthy coming out regularly (my goal used to be weekly, which is probably what it averaged out to over a year). Consistency and regularity are crucial to building up your brand with your media audience … and to getting “good habits” put in place.