Underpinning how social you want your PR

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It was great to see tweets like this one from Lisa Pool as we concluded “How social do you want your PR?” at the headquarters of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in London on January 24.

The title of the evening meeting – one in the CIPR’s Social Summer series of conversation and networking events – at which some 50 or so people took part was the central question raised in an assessment of the broad digital landscape that’s in our PR view, from what was on our radar in 2012 to what we can’t avoid in 2013.

The focus clearly was on the social web and tools and channels, and where they fit into our overall communications and business picture. So the conversation centred around five areas that are unquestionably in our faces right now:

  • Influencer marketing
  • Neutral point of view
  • Content curation
  • Content marketing
  • Brand journalism

I explained how I see each of these topics (detailed in the presentation deck I used, embedded below) and why I think they are very important for us as communicators as we work for our employers or clients in helping them achieve their business objectives.

In addition, there’s something as equally important as these tools and channels that too often escapes our attention in the dazzle of the social web. It’s closely intertwined with those tools and channels, underpinning everything, as the practice of public relations and other elements of organizational communication evolves as business and our broader society do.

That ‘something’ is remembering our primary goal as public relations practitioners, encapsulated in the CIPR’s definition of that practice:

Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.

Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.

It’s also about how to practice our profession that too often manifests itself in poor practices like thoughtless, careless and irrelevant email pitches; creating content that adds no value whatsoever to the conversation it aspires to influence; and, last but not least, poor ethical behaviours, all of which results in diminished trust in you and your word.

So in thinking about the social web, and the tools and channels you will use to communicate and engage, think about the PR basics and the six attributes I believe are key and which you have the power to embrace.

Be...

It’s not about perfection or being perfect (nobody is perfect!). It’s about being relevant, measurable, valuable, ethical, open and professional. None of that needs permission from a boss – it’s down to you.

If you can get these right, the world is your oyster.

Finally, here’s my presentation deck which you’re also free to download and use under the terms of its Creative Commons copyright license:

Also, Julio Romo contributed some valuable insight into six other elements in our sights as he added to the conversation:

  1. Rise of the “Pro-sumer”
  2. Get your content mobile ready
  3. Use video in your comms
  4. Data can empower PR
  5. Skills for a new communications world
  6. The End of PR 1.0!!

Add Julio’s thinking to yours and mine as you contemplate your next steps:

And, see Grace Park’s thoughts that add another perspective to this overall picture.

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About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.