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.

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