Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

How does public relations work in the blogosphere?

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 23, 2006

By Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher

I took part in a Bulldog Reporter teleconference this morning, on the subject of Blogger PR and it was a record turnout, more than 80 leading PR agencies and corporate communications organizations called in, each with maybe two dozen people or more at each location.

The panel included Shel Israel of It Seems to me, Alice Marie Marshall of Technoflak and Jeremy Pepper of Pop!PR blog. We covered a lot of ground in the ninety or so minutes and we were all agreed on most points. And that was because we all have extensive experience of being involved in the blogosphere (I prefer mediasphere).

We heard a lot of the same questions I hear wherever I go, such as: who are the influential bloggers? How do we deal with negative posts? How do we measure how we influence the influencers? And many more...

I was the only one on the panel that is working as a journalist blogger. I do not work in public relations, I am the target of public relations. And in that capacity I am happy to share what works, what doesn't, and offer some good practices for PR.

And we all agreed on one key point: the best way to find out who is influential in your sector is to get involved in the online conversations either by blogging, monitoring, or commenting.
(Please see SVW: The metrics of influence.)

Every company to some degree, is now a media company. Every company constantly publishes stories and has conversations: within its own organization, with its peers, with its communities, with its potential hires, with its customers. Make sure that those conversations are honest and truthful.

And let go of the out dated attitude of control, or the idea of controlling a message. You have no control over how the world will "tag" you or your company. The only place you have control is with yourself, and that means that you are consistent in the things that you say, the things that you converse with the world.

I love this blogging format and I love sharing what I've learned so far. And there is a tremendous amount that we are still learning, and a tremendous amount of answers that we don't yet have--and that adds to the fun part.

I will help individuals, non-profits and educational organizations become more effective communicators. And I will help PR agencies, corporations--any commercial organizations-- figure out how to tell their stories, and have honest, truthful conversations. And also how to best use these media technologies, such as blogging, RSS, and wikis, to enable direct communications.

I have no interest in spin or marketing: those are concepts that belong in the last century.

If you need me to give a talk, or come in and speak with your teams about the many questions and issues out there, then please contact the non-profit think tank, of which I am a founding fellow, at the Palo Alto based Society for New Communications Research and its founder, Jen McClure, at 650-387-8590. There is a fee for commercial organizations, which helps to fund our work with non-profits and educational institutes.

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