In September last year I drew up the PR 2010 framework in a series of 3 blog posts looking at the coming extensions in PR that are coming and will come over the next year. You can catch up on the posts if you want to quickly: The New PR, PR, Static Wine, and Dynamic Wineskins, and PR 2010.
To help you quckly get up to seed, the above diagram illustrates a host of media that find themselves in different places with regards to their ‘spreadability’ and their ‘relevance’. Facebook, due to it’s alogorhthyms and such, is individually relevant and highly spreadable because there are fewer restrictions on it than there are TV, which is more mass market and less individually relevant, and has more restrictions. There’s more about it here.
I’m bringing this up again today as I have a bit more to add to the discussion, as I’m sure you do.
To Start, A Local Example
I was providing some consultancy through my company Aaron+Gould this last week on an event that wishes to extend it’s offline experience through Social Media. They wanted to do this to sieze the opportunity of engaging with the tens of thousands of people using Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc who are their target audience, in order to get them excited about the event, involved in the community aspects of the event, and ultimately attend the event along with their friends.
When they showed me the numbers, it was funny to my Social mind to see such Broadcast thinking. Number of press releases for last years event – about 200 or so. Instances of other media (whether status updates, tweets, and blogs) – about 50 or so.
Of course most businesses are thinking like this because press releases are the way it’s always been done, but stil as much as I wanted to help them understand that a press release does little for the general public, they wanted me to understand how is one of their core ways of distribution information.
There must be room for both public relations and personal relationship. Whilst press releases and other traditional PR activity is mostly handy for communication with media partners, the press, and peers, if consumers are going to be engaged directly, then with Social Media we have a way to communicate through a dynamic channel in a far more meaningful and effective way, as per the model above.
(Let me just point out quickly that SEO is an agenda for most PR agencies today – so there is a diffusion of technology happening – although it is all still around the broadcast side of the Social / Broadcast Matrix, not so much the social side.)
4 New Faces of PR
I want to see local examples like this to start embracing their actual target markets with personal, individual interaction as well as the overall reach stuff, and I think it can be done. I see a scale to help us:
Public Relations. What we already have – a high level overview that sees a range of connections, media, press and channels. It is pretty must broadcast up here – pushing the message out to those who will push it out to others.
Public Relationships. Like events which broadcast social, this level is the mass delivery of relationships rather than relations. We are creating strategic relationships with key demographics by using Social Media (among other things) to broadcast our social content. This isn’t a press release, which the public will not engage with – this is supplying social content that the public will engage with: videos, blogs, Facebook advertising, showcasing opinion leaders. All of this as content must build upon the idea of Social Authority (consider again Facebook’s universal like button.)
Personal Relations. As we drill down, we now begin to connect into communities and smaller clusters by targeting information for them. Schools, workplaces, local demographics, social groupings.
Personal Relationship. Through community and Social Media management, we get down into the smallest block of maintaing personal relationship with individuals. This has to be social. There must be listening, responding and initiating. At this grass roots level, listening is an invaluable way to gauge how the public are perceiving you from the members of the public themselves, rather than the distant reach metrics that our level of Public Relations used to go by.
I’m really only providing a few thoughts here. If you really want depth on this subject, Brian Solis has a very thorough blog on the subject, followed by John Cass who is another excellent writer on the subject. On UK soil, Claire Thompson writes regularly as a PR consultant on how she is seeing the shift into Social.
The Main Point
Mix your PR strategy to be wide as well as deep – but width here means engaging the general public. Don’t just perform ‘public relations’ also work your way down into ‘personal relationship.’ The new social mindset of consumers means the general public will respond favourable to this.
Your Leading Questions
- Can you provide an example where you were engaged with personal relationship by a brand / event / campaign? Let’s dissect it.