The evolution of social media has changed how PR pros are communicating with journalists. The days of pitching via e-mail and telephone are dwindling, while more time is being spent on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs, opening the door for outreach through those channels. Frank Strong, director of PR, Vocus, has been a PR pro for 13 years working for firms large and small. As a featured speaker at PR News’ Social Media Measurement Conference on Oct. 2 in New York, he’ll be guiding attendees on how to build trust across social media networks.
PR News: For “traditional” communicators, how hard has it been for practitioners to forget the old ways of doing business and initiating contact with editorial contacts via social media?
Frank Strong: For many, I don’t think it’s hard at all. As the Cluetrain Manifesto said, “markets are conversations.” Given their background in working with editorial contacts, traditional communicators are well positioned to excel in social media—if they put in the time to learn the nuances of the networks.
PR News: What is one key thing that is often overlooked when using social media in media relations?
Strong: We get out of it what we put into it. If we think of social media as another place for broadcast communications, we’ll be sorely disappointed in the lack of results.
PR News: What’s the biggest challenge PR pros face when trying to build trust on social media?
Strong: Competition. There’s a lot of competition and social media has revealed just how many smart, savvy people there are who are very dedicated to writing and publishing—it’s content as a currency in exchange for attention and eventually trust.
PR News: Are you surprised at how long it has taken PR pros and journalists to get on the same page when it comes to using social media tactics?
Strong: It’s taken a little bit longer than I’d expect, because I sense a critical mass of journalists didn’t get on board with social media until the last couple years. However, those PR pros that got a head start are still a long way ahead.
PR News: What’s a key idea/thought you want to leave the conference attendees with?
Strong: Focus on consistent, compelling content. Social media, like PR, is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes hard work and dedication. Walking into social media expecting home runs is unreasonable. Especially at the outset, you need to understand that hitting a single is a real social media victory.
Attend PR News' Social Media Measurement Conference on Oct. 2 in NYC and learn more from social media experts like Frank Strong.
Follow Jamar Hudson: @jamarhudson