Comcast PR Veteran Recommends Multi-Layered Media Approach

Walter Neary

With more journalists turning to Facebook and Twitter to research story ideas and find sources, social media can be a great way to engage reporters and bloggers. As Walter Neary, public relations director, Washington State, Comcast says in the following Q&A, social media is not a silver bullet for traditional media relations. Taking a multi-layered approach to building and nurturing relationships with the media will yield the best results, he says. Neary will elaborate on engaging journalists and media relations at PR News’ Big 3 Conference on August 9 in San Francisco.

PR News: What’s your take on pitching journalists on social media channels? 

Walter Neary: My hope is that we'll soon stop talking about it like it's something special, and treat the various social media channels like we treat the phone, e-mail and bumping into someone on the street.

PR News: What’s one of the biggest mistakes PR pros make when trying to engage journalists through social media?

Neary: One mistake I see is PR professionals thinking engaging through social media is a substitute for human relationships.

PR News: What important media relations trends do you foresee in the near future?

Neary: Traditional media is shrinking, so we'll see more companies striving to be the actual news source. Our definition of media has to expand so that we think of anyone with at least one friend as a form of the media, potentially able to share news. Companies will provide more effective resources that people can share among their circles of friends. News networks and content aggregators will adapt to include news from companies. 

At some point, people wearing Google glasses (or other technologies) are going to be able to look at a store or product and immediately see what all their friends and other contacts think of that product or store. Companies will want to be part of that conversation as a resource, to reinforce, to respond and/or to listen.

PR News: What’s one key tip you’ll offer attendees at PR News' Big 3 Conference on August 9?

Neary: Don't rely on just one platform; you are more useful—and being useful is key—when you can offer layered points of entry to information.

Attend PR News’ Big 3 Conference on August 9 in San Francisco and learn more from social media leaders like Walter Neary.

Follow Regina D’Alesio, @reginadalesio

3 responses to “Comcast PR Veteran Recommends Multi-Layered Media Approach

  1. I completely agree, social media can be a great way to engage reporters, but a combination of social and traditional PR techniques works best. In fact, we dove into this topic specifically in regards to Twitter just last week on our company’s blog in an article entitled Using Twitter for Traditional PR In this piece we discuss essential steps to follow in order to engage with reporters on Twitter. I’m sure Walter Neary’s presentation at PR News’ Big 3 Social Media Conference will shed further light on this topic as well!

  2. At a recent regional PRSA meeting with local media, which included the Wall Street Journal (we’re located just north of NYC), journalists said they didn’t look to social media at all for story ideas, but still preferred to get press releases embedded in e-mails. Where I hear social media being emphasized to contact the press seems to be from our side of the fence alone. Not saying I don’t agree that we need to use social media, as well, but I question whether journalists truly are using it as a source, as much as we’re being told –by PR gurus — that they are.

  3. I think that while traditional media may not be looking for tips on social media feeds, emerging influencers like reputable bloggers are. Having said that, PR should be integrated into as many channels that are suitable to your business – and for some companies SMPR is more efficient, especially if they’re looking to reach an online audience – first. After all, the source of news today is wavering, with tips often originating from RRS feeds and trends on twitter rather than more traditional media channels (via journalists).

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