Is public relations a recession-proof industry? Certainly not…

Is public relations a recession-proof industry?

YES! Says Gil Rudawsky (follow on Twitter @gilcommedia), Crisis Communications Strategist at GroundFloor Media, blogger, PRDaily contributor, writes: It used to be that when the financial markets dragged down the economy and corporate bottom lines, public relations budgets topped the list of spending cutback targets.

These days, even as the swooning markets erode consumer spending, there’s potent optimism that PR budgets will remain intact—and possibly even grow. The proof comes down to 10 years of ups and downs and, through it all, an expanding, almost recession-resistant PR industry.

In a nutshell, he says (and I agree 100%!), …PR delivers cost-effective results compared to advertising and marketing.

This is an informative and “classic” piece that every PR person and anyone looking to hire a Public Relations profession or firm definitely needs to read and re-read from time to time! >Article here.

Contribution is one aspect of social media that has never seen a downturn…

Toshal ShenaiMedia Planner (Digital) at Madison Media Bangalore, and a self-proclaimed newbie in the world of Social Media has said it just right:

The Social Media Landscape is broad. Sharing, Discussions, Networking, Media, Blogging, Microblogging, Live Stream, Live-cast, Virtual World, Gaming, Multi-player games, Music, Video, Podcast, Review, Social Bookmarking, and Wiki. This is just a list of the beginning of social media. What started as e-mails, groups, and messenger, has now widened its scope, reach, depth, richness, interactivity, and quality. The most challenging aspect of Social Media today is the way participation needs to be moderated, and a promotion of better quality content.  Read more

Need to add the concept of Social Media PR… social media is a channel of media (a.k.a. NEW media) thus driving public relations and publicity is a huge part of the contribution side.

Investor Relations and Social Media

Investor Relations and Social Media: Together at Last!

According to Dave Hogan, APR, who teaches public relations at Abilene Christian University and serves as director of investor relations and corporate communications for First Financial Bankshares, Inc., Investor Relations departments have been notoriously slow to embrace social media compared with other sectors of public relations and marketing, but that may be changing as new social media channels emerge that seem better suited to investor relations needs than popular consumer-facing sites such as Facebook.

Read more >

Follow Dave Hogan on Twitter or view his profile on LinkedIn

A Social Media education: Most people just don’t know what we don’t know!

“My middle-schooler created her own Facebook page . . . How hard can this social media thing really be?”

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say this or something similar.

When it comes to the use of social (or NEW) media, most people just don’t know what we don’t know!

Quite correctly, it is easy to set up a Facebook or Twitter account or virtually any other social media account. You navigate to a web page, add some information, create a profile, hit a few buttons and within minutes you’re chatting with friends, updating your status, and discovering who likes what books or TV shows or whatever else someone chooses to share. YES practically ANYONE can do it. . . and practically EVERYONE does (at last count Facebook had 600 million active accounts worldwide).

But is that all there is to social media? Hardly.

Many companies, from corner convenience stores to Fortune 100 giants as well as senior level professionals, executives and celebrities, use social media quite effectively to aid their marketing efforts, develop or enhance their personal or business brands, and create publicity and buzz.

It’s a relatively level playing field, as long as you know what you’re doing. Of course, therein lies the dilemma.

Exchanging updates and pithy quotes with friends does not a social media strategy make . . . at least not if your goal is to position yourself as a thought leader in a particular area of expertise or to engage in conversation about the value of your product or service to consumers.

To do that, and to do it well, you need a social media strategy that keeps you front and center and on message, as well as a tactical game plan for how you will implement, sustain, and refocus efforts as necessary to give your social media strategy legs.

So while practically anyone can start “sharing” online, including you or your middle-schooler, more than likely you won’t know what you don’t know.

• What can you reasonably expect to gain through social media? What results are you hoping to achieve?
• What social media sites should you join? How can you decide?
• What tools will you need to optimize your activities? What’s available and how do you avoid becoming a 24×7 slave to social media?
• Do you know how to operate within the confines of social media “etiquette”? Do you know best practices and what’s acceptable and what’s not?
• How will you use social media to demonstrate value so that customers and prospective customers want to engage in conversation with you?
• How frequently should you add fresh content?
• What will you discuss? How will you say it? More importantly, why will you discuss a particular topic?
• How will you invite others to join the conversation . . . and what do you do once they join to keep them engaged?
• How can you ensure your content is something people will want to keep and share with others?
• How will you measure the response?
• How will you know if you are successful? How many fans or followers do you need?
• If your social media efforts are not meeting desired results, what can you do to improve performance?

Social media success depends on a Social Media Publicist/Manager—a specialist trained in optimizing social media activities and maximizing efficacy—to see what’s working/what’s not working on a daily if not minute-by-minute basis. It takes a human mind and not just another computer application to make judgments on what makes good content, what stories to promote, where to promote them and when, and how best to connect with a target audience.

As a business owner, executive, or solo professional, you owe it to yourself, your business, and your customers and prospects to recognize what you don’t know about social media and bring in the experts to help you rise above the clutter and begin reaping the benefits of greater brand equity.

Social Media Publicity vs. Social Media PR

I have decided that I am a true “micro-blogger”—not a  blogger.  Obviously (AS YOU CAN SEE), I do not post a lot on this blog.  This is mainly due to the fact that I am a “PR producer” first and foremost. My thought leadership (and opinion) usually happens in quick bursts (not in long article format)—throughout the day as I am working on other people’s PR strategy and tactical management. I’d rather update or tweet—I am, as they say, obsessed with Twitter anyway so it works for me along with Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Foursquare you name it. However, I do like to talk so blogging will still come out of me from time to time (including Blog Talk Radio – I have a program there as well – time to get back to Blog Talking!). I work with a lot of writers in my agency, so they also help the creative juices to flow out of me on the blogging end… or at least I will press them to do so more often!

A lot of my clients do like to write blogs (I love to edit so that must get my blogger side fulfilled?). Some of my client’s blog mostly due to me pushing them to do so, but I really only push the ones that I think have that certain “blogger mindset.”  Blogging is a great form of social media PR and excellent for search engine placement/optimization (link building).

Some of my clients have PPC ad campaigns already running upon hiring us. We usually  wean some of them off of these (this is not PR for one thing) once we are able to build a better social media PR strategy for them and get a leg up on daily tactical placement and management.  We usually can get page ranks up much higher or equal to that of their PPC ads on the organic end within the first 90 days we begin working with them. Organic Social Media PR is what I LOVE to go for on a continued basis. Yet, most people don’t realize that this takes work, dedication and constant engagement. So many clients tend to look at PR in the same way as advertising or marketing and tend just want to hand it all over and never without saying a word. Social Media PR, in particular, can’t work that way.  Hiring a PR firm also means letting go.

I just re-read a short blog post by Seth Gordon (circa 2009): The difference between PR and publicity.

He wrote:

Publicity is the act of getting ink. Publicity is getting unpaid media to pay attention, write you up, point to you, run a picture, make a commotion… Publicity is not PR. ….PR is the strategic crafting of your story. It’s the focused examination of your interactions and tactics and products and pricing that, when combined, determine what and how people talk about you.

Read the whole post (it’s not long), but he goes on to say:

In my experience, a few people have a publicity problem, but almost everyone has a PR problem. You need to solve that one first. And you probably won’t accomplish that if you hire a publicity firm and don’t even give them the freedom and access they need to work with you on your story.

AGREED SETH, AGREED. Thank you for making that clear—albeit two years ago, it still holds true today!

Now, here’s my re-examination of his (very to-the-point) explanation of the difference between publicity and PR as it pertains Social Media–since, again I do and always have been of the opinion that Social Media PR is/should be included in on the “traditional definition” of PR:

Social Media Publicity is the act of getting ink. Social Media Publicity is getting unpaid media (as people who read you beyond your ppc or banner ads) to pay attention, write about you, point to/share your thought leadership, run a picture, make a commotion… On the other hand, Social media PR is the strategic crafting of your story.

Social Media PR is the focused examination of your interactions, tactics, products and pricing that, when combined, determine what, why and how people talk about you (or your company/business, etc.). You need Social Media PR strategy to get PUBLICITY.

Few people have a social media publicity problem (as long as they “speak up” online they have publicity), but almost everyone has a social media PR problem (once again, key words are not the end all, but a very small part of the social media PR equation). You need to solve that one first—that is–your Social Media PR problem. You probably won’t accomplish your social media PR goals if you do not hire a publicity firm* and you don’t give them the freedom and access they need to work with you to develop and execute your best social media strategy. Everyone should strive for lasting social media publicity. Yes key words are fine, but once you get them to “click over” what are you going to do to get them to stay and talk to you or about you?

* This does not include social media coaches, SEO or PPC experts—PR strategists and tactical managers all offer all of this expertise on top of everything else. If you  want to hire a PPC or SEO expert that’s fine, but just don’t leave out the PR expert who knows both traditional and social media PR.

Social Media/Online PR for Business Promotion–Don’t Try This at Home…

…if you don’t have the time or experience to produce and manage it (best to leave it to the traditional promoters and publicists of the world).

Online/Social Media is the reality of our world these days–it truly is “new media channel” for personal and business PR, promotion, marketing and advertising. It has also become one of the best new tools for job search and recruiting.

There is absolutely no shortage of social media coaches, seminars and books on this new hot topic. However, these particular platforms can usually only provide a short-term solution or even simply overwhelm those who are new to social and online media production and management. Unfortunately the real work comes into play after the meetings and workshops are over! Social media strategy is one thing, but the implementation and management of it all is a whole other job in itself.

While many companies are slowly embracing this fact (hiring social media managers to work alongside marketing management), most business people may not think of outsourcing this new and very constant personal professional business task!  If you think about it, this type of service may not be so much of a luxury these days, but really MORE of a necessity especially for busy professionals who know they need to be more in tune with their personal online PR and reputation management and who do not have the ability or time to concentrate on it all–above and beyond their core business tasks.

I recently commented on a very good blog post by a “social media expert” who wrote about the five key success points of social media management (or something along those lines). While I agreed with most of what she wrote about, I did not agree with her in regards to the fact that since social media should be handled personally by the person or business that chooses to participate in this new media channel. I commented to her (on the blog) that this “rule” of social media production and management should not always be the case—and for the majority of people who are using online or new media to promote their personal professional brand, service or products.

Social media is no different from traditional media and if you want it to work and provide the best results (ROI), you better have a background in PR or marketing, the experience and ability to produce creative and engaging collateral, the ability to handle crisis management issues (that happens more and more now with new media being so wide open) and the time to manage it all on a consistent basis—or it will absolutely do NOTHING for your personal brand or business.

It’s a shame that there people out there getting other people to believe that a quick seminar or coaching session will help them learn how to be more in synch, and in tune with social media (for their own professional or business brand) and that just because “social media” is based in such an open type of forum (over traditional media), that they MUST produce and manage it all on their own. Even Reality T.V. programs are produced and directed by other people (kidding, but true). Just because social media is online it should not give people the license to think that they can or even should try to handle their online Personal PR initiative—and whether it’s for their own personal or business brand. If also takes a lot of time and effort and it really is a whole other job that should not be taken lightly.

With close to 25 years of PR/marketing experience, I’ve evolved my own professional/business brand into the production and management of social (new) media as it started to surge in the early 2000’s, but I also didn’t dive right into it as an expert! I slowly submerged into it. Believe it or not traditional publicists and marketers are still catching up and trying to infuse new media in with traditional practices. Then there are all the new “social media experts” who usually have limited traditional and basic PR or marketing experience—no one is an expert. Social Media or Online PR as I like to call it is NEW and things change every day–its growth is unprecedented. If anything, the expertise is really more about the ability to stay on course and change and adapt as new techniques, tools and platforms change or come into place and then continue to develop, build and manage it to ensure it creates a return on investment. The expertise falls into place from there.

Staying on top of all the learning and tasking can be overwhelming for most business people–which is why personal web/social media managers can provide a very necessary service to support business professionals in a similar manner to how most celebrity, government official and company brand personas are handled and represented on the web. I actually think that most businesses and professionals need web and social media managers even more so. Many celebrities have the down time to manage their own social media and online PR, but most do not. Being online in a professional manner is also about maintaining reputation and image—which is what a publicist or third-party should always handle as it is.