Find Your Niche

by Jessica Slevin

This afternoon I had the opportunity to attend Internfest,
an event put on by the Council of Public Relations Firms for PR interns in New
York City. The panelists spoke on a variety of topics but soon enough the
discussion inevitably turned to social media.

Let’s face it – social media is becoming increasingly
relevant for this industry every day. There is no way to ignore it, and as one
speaker pointed out, if you try to ignore it you are only doing your clients a
disservice. However, just because social media is the hottest thing in PR right
now and “everyone is doing it” does not mean that you should dive right in and
try to be involved in every single social media outlet that exists.

When using social media for public relations, it is important
to always keep in mind your strategy for each individual client. Maybe some
brands would do great with a blog or a Twitter account, but it’s something that
deserves some careful consideration. Is this client’s audience active on Twitter, do
they read blogs? A strategy that is perfect for one client may be a waste of
another client’s time. Which brings me to the next point from this discussion.
Is the client capable of maintaining all of these various social media sites?
Some clients have more time and budget to devote to these activities, while
others just may not be able to afford it right now. This line of thinking is
important for personal social media use as well. While it’s great to establish
your personal brand through various social media sites, there is no point to
setting up all of these different profiles if you don’t take the time to update
them frequently.

There will always be new social media tools coming out, but
it is important not to get distracted by the “next big thing” just because it’s
new. As public relations professionals, we have to keep in mind the
fundamentals of our industry and remember our original strategy before we can
implement these tools effectively.

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Earlier this week, The Council of Public Relations Firms and APCO created a website called The State of Blog Relations, geared towards bridging the gap between PR pros and bloggers, in response to the findings of a study conducted they conducted in early 2007.

The site provides detailed graphs and results of CPRF and APCO survey, but goes the next step and provides best practices, based on the survey results.  These best practices exist as wikis, so readers can update them and have a say in the content.

Right now, this site is in it’s infancy, but could be a valuable resource down the line for PR pros that would like to learn the best ways to form relationships with bloggers and be successful in their blogger outreach.

Do you think this site is helpful to PR pros?  What will blogger reactions be?

-Rob Longert and PepperDigital

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