Social Media & Press Relations

November 11, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences


Lunch was delicious. I had pizza. What did you all have? Was it good?

Okay, we’re going to talk about social media and press relations. Up on stage we have Guillaume Bouchard, Pat Strader, Giovanni Gallucci, and Joanna Lord. I haz no witty banter.  Or at least I didn’t. Then Pat Strader delivered me a blogger survival package.  How freakin’ kickass is THAT?  I love Sour Patch Watermelons like I like making grown men cry.

Up first is Guillaume. He gets a really great introduction from Chris Winfield. How much do we love Chris Winfield? 10e20 ROCKS!

Imagine PR without television (NO TV?!). Imagine PR without radio. Imagine PR without print.  PR is about broadcasting your brand story. Whatever happens, you are pushing content towards people. When you’re doing that, you’re segmenting it all those different ways.  The problem with most PR agencies is now we have to deal with those channels next to each other, now we have to deal with them all together.

The Internet is yet another marketing channel. There are two unique aspects:

  1. A multicast medium: A multicast medium is when there’s text + audio + video all on the same page, at the same time.
  2. A multi-directional medium:  People are replying to one another. We have created a social ecosystem were brands talk to consumers, consumers talk to brands and consumers talk to consumers.

Word of Mouth before: “Hey, you should hit that restaurant. It was really good.”

Word of Mouth after: Twitter. Computer to Computer word of mouth – AdWords looks at your data.

There are three angles to Online PR:

  1. Reach – It’s convincing journalists to cover your event. It’s media relations and partnerships, etc
  2. Search – You can use PR Web to create, pay and upload your content.  You can use PR Newswire where its more managed. And there are hybrids between the two.
  3. Community- Creating press conferences, publicity events, stunts, etc.

Social Media Search: Do social content creation. Social news optimization on Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc.  One of the results of that is user generated content.

Biz Case: Molson Dry

A leading Canadian beer. The challenge was that it was a mainstream beer in an indie market.  The goal was to bridge the gap between mainstream and niche markets.   They invited journalists, did a press release and held an event.  They invited them onto the roof of the Molson factory. They wanted to connect bloggers and their readers.

Results: 27 bloggers and 100+ of their readers. Over 50 posts and 300 comments.  Three Facebook groups were created naturally. There was great feedback by bloggers about what Molson needed to change their opinion of the brand

Next up is Joanna Lord. Chris says Joanna is the bubbliest person he knows and that she never sleeps.  Yeah. I’d agree.

We do PR…why should we care about social media?

  • Growth: We have new audiences and new avenues to talk to people
  • Evolve: Keep moving or get off the track
  • Low Risk: It’s free
  • Don’t be that guy: Your competitors do.

You can find awesome results.  There are new outlets for message delivery (visibility). Create new ways for your evangelists to share informational (viral). Hear critiques in constructive ways (ORM). Stay involved in a lifetime of message (create & optimize). Spamming people on Twitter is NOT PR.

Ways to capitalize on social media

  1. Build/ leverage relationships
  2. Research where you spend your time.
  3. Enable the message to be shared

Building PR Relationships


  • Roladex Syndrome
  • Cold call with a PHONE


  • Reach out in informal, less-invasive ways
  • Establish authority propr to pitch (LinkedIn)
  • Engage on a multitude of platforms
  • Data mine the right people. Some people are more important than others.

Be social where you need to be.  It’s part of your job to evangelise. There are thousands of communities and sites out there to help you spread your message.

Use these sites:

  1. HARO
  4. wefollow
  5. Twitter Lists

Enable Your Message To Be Shared

Optimize your message for a social audience: PitchEngine – links to your social network profiles, video & audio integration. Use social friendly distribution options like Marketwire 2.0.  Enable your message to be shared by having social media buttons, use your Twitter feed and put up Facebook Connect or Facebook fan pages.

Don’t be silly: Get a blog and pimp it out to be social. It’s still the best social tool out there.   Use your blog as a press relationships interface.  Your blog is your best tool out there for press relations.

Don’t be overwhelmed – Social media is meant to make your PR life easier. It’s just another way to get your message out to a bigger audience.

Next up is Pat Strader.

By putting together a policy, it forces you to think through how you’ll be doing your social media.

Some of your biggest stars will come from some of the most unexpected places. He’s taken aback when companies say they don’t have anyone who can handle social media. And yet, they’re letting them answer the phone, take support calls, be sales people etc. If you can trust them for THAT, you can should be able to trust them on social media.

How often should I post? How often do you have something meaningful to say?  Don’t pigeonhole yourself into certain parameters.  If you’re helping people, if you’re providing relevant information, then you’re starting to build trust.   Trust is the basis for everything.  People buy and have relationships with people that they trust.

You need to train people on your social media policy and how they’re to use tools and listen. If you’re not listening and teaching people how to listen than you’re not giving them the proper training for how to jump in.  Prepare – think before you say something stupid. Uncover the hot button issues.    He encourages people to look at it from a sports perspective. If you’r leading up social media for your company, think like a coach. What’s your game plan? What are you going to do when all hell breaks loose? Are you going to stick to t he game plan or venture away? You need to craft your policy.

Last up was Giovanni Gallucci. He talked about the launch of the Palm community and about a lot of the struggles and failures they faced. I had a hard time following due to a nice coughing and sneezing fit and ended up losing most of what he was saying.  My apologies to Giovanni.  This girl is dying a slow death.  Andy Beal’s just hoping it’s not contagious.

Two more sessions to go today.  Time for more drugs.

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