Most recognize that public relations is important, but is it more than just writing press releases?
As defined by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), “it is a communications discipline that engages and informs key audiences, builds important relationships and brings vital information back into an organization for analysis and action.”
In fact, PR involves much more than getting press coverage, and because social media is tailor-made for communicating and engaging with your public, it’s increasingly part of the PR toolbox.
You’re probably already using some forms of social media to help meet your PR goals, build your business and grow your thought leadership online.
But now there’s evidence that even the most traditional of PR roles – the targeting of traditional media – is being impacted by the social media space. A national survey has found that an overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media sources when researching their stories:
- 89% said they turn to blogs for story research
- 65% to social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn
- 52% to microblogging services such as Twitter
Research and references with a difference
What does this mean? For example, a journalist now will often look at recent blog posts to get a feel for an organization’s positioning before writing a story. If you are in a consulting business, they may review your LinkedIn profile to get a feel for your qualifications, or research Twitter to see what others say about you.
This means that even when you’re trying to get attention from traditional print and broadcast media, social media plays a critical role in your visibility and outreach.
For those of us running our own businesses and interested in obtaining new clients and customers, social media is no longer optional. A single home base –which, depending on your business, could be a blog, a LinkedIn profile, or maybe even a presence on a review site like Yelp – is necessary at a minimum to spread the word.
Are you at a loss as to where to begin?
If you’d like some more background on social media and the role it now plays in promoting your business, check out these resources:
- Luckie’s 30-Day Social Media Makeover
- Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (book)
- The New Rules of Marketing and PR: by David Meerman Scott (book)
- Social Media Trends for 2010, by Jeremiah Owyang (excellent slides for intermediate and advanced social media “learners”)
- The Modern PR series (on Solo PR Pro)
What role do you think social media will play in public relations (agree or disagree)? What resources would you add to the list?
- Women Grow Business guest blogger Michelle Tennant on how the Internet changed publicity
- Regular contributor Lori Saitz on the myth of control and how social media creates transparent customer service
- Get cozy with this video recap of integrating traditional marketing with social media from the 2009 GrowSmartBiz conference
Image: Josh Kenzer, Creative Commons
Kellye Crane is an accomplished, award-winning communicator with more than 20 years of experience in strategic public relations, social media, and marketing communications. An in-demand speaker, Kellye addresses the intersection of social media and PR on her Solo PR Pro blog, which serves as a resource for those working as independent consultants — and those who’d like to be. She’s frequently listed as one of the top 100 PR pros to follow on Twitter.