The Importance of Add Crazy  Social Media for Public Relations

PR professionals today are using social media to either supplement or add to their existing strategies, signaling an evolution in the role of PR over the last few years. Public relations specialists were among the first few to understand the power of social media, making them leaders in the social space. Along with handling website content, more and more PR pros are


Responsible for their company’s and clients’ social media presence. The gradual shift towards what industry experts call ‘the social media release’ indicates how the traditional long-form press release is changing. According to David McCulloch, director of public relations at Cisco Systems, “The press release of the future will deliver its content in text, video, SMS, microblog and podcast form, to any choice of device.

Whenever the reader decides, and preferably it will be pre-corroborated and openly rated by multiple trusted sources. eMarketer expects PR and ad agencies to witness an increase in their social media revenue in 2011. Findings from a joint study by the Transworld Advertising Agency Network and Worldcom Public Relations Group show:

• In 2010, 28% of PR firms said that 15-33% of their revenue came from social media.
• This number had grown by 44% in 2011.
• The study indicates that, compared to ad agencies, the PR industry is more effective in leveraging social media.

The Road Ahead…

Industry research firm IBIS World has predicted the factors that are likely to fuel the growth of PR firms in the coming years and the expected growth rate.

• PR firms are expected to grow at an average annualized rate of 5.7% to $12.8 billion from 2010-2015.
• This sport will be attributed to the increase in demand by companies who want PR firms to handle daily interactions with consumers and the press on their social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
• The recent shift from traditional media to more direct media (social media) will result in PR firms specializing in or launching divisions devoted to blogs, social networking sites, mobile media, and podcasts.
• Over four-fifths of PR firms are anticipating an increase in digital and social media work in the future.

Whether consulting with clients from the agency’s point of view or working with an in-house team, PR agencies need to be social media-ready. Position² lists a few guidelines that will help your agency survive and stand out in the digital space:

Making a Pitch

Social media has given a whole new meaning to the concept of ‘pitching.’ While the idea of e-mailing a press release to journalists, editors, and bloggers is not completely obsolete, it is easy for the readers to hit the delete button and forget about it. Incorporating social media into your PR strategy will ensure your pitch is heard above the din. To effectively use social media in your PR pitch plan, we recommend a few points that can be added to your ‘to-do list:

o Avoid the Fancy Stuff:

Too much information laced with fancy catchphrases like ‘cutting-edge, mission-critical applications to improve business process, etc.’ can put off readers. Keep it simple.

o Getting your Tweets Right:

If you are planning to use Twitter to make a pitch, keep in mind that you have 140 characters to get it right. According to Nicole VanScoten, a public relations specialist at Pyxl, getting your tweets right leads to high response rates than e-mail.

o Don’t Spam them:

Whether it’s journalists or bloggers, no one likes to receive random tweets or Facebook messages. It would be a good idea to learn about the journalist or blogger before reaching out to them. Read their Twitter profile or personal blog to find out if these contacts need to be targeted and then make your pitch.

o Build a Relationship:

Once you have figured out your contacts list, the next step is easy. Building a relationship with a journalist or editor involves getting on their radar. What you can do is a) check out their Facebook page and comment on the posts you like, b) retweet their messages, and c) comment on a blog post. This will ensure your presence on their radar, even before you decide to make a pitch.