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PR in the Evolving World of News

How do you get your news? Once upon a time, of course, that question had an easy answer: your newspaper, the TV, or radio. And, were I to time travel and ask this question to folks a hundred or more years ago, they would probably say that they got it from friends and neighbors. And, just as life seems to go in circles, so to with news. Today, thanks to Facebook and other social media, many folks are more likely to get their news from friends in the social networking sense of that word, than from traditional sources.

How do you get your news?
Once upon a time, of course, that question had an easy
answer: your newspaper, the TV, or radio. And, were I to time travel and ask
this question to folks a hundred or more years ago, they would probably say
that they got it from friends and neighbors.
And, just as life seems to go in circles, so to with news.
Today, thanks to Facebook and other social media, many folks are more likely to
get their news from friends in the social networking sense of that word, than
from traditional sources.
As Vadim Lavrusk wisely put it in a recent article on
Mashable, your friends have become your news wire. Indeed, I happened upon Lavrusk’s
article thanks to the generous sharing of social media articles by Columbia University’s inimitable Sree Sreenivasan.
All of which got me thinking about the Evolving-As-I-Write
Role of Public Relations in this 24-7, social networking news world.
The new information ecosystem (if we want to sound fancy)
has opened the world for B2B PR professionals besides turning it upside down.
Where once we were dependent on the media to tell our story, we now have the
facility not just to tell it ourselves but also to share it with our customers
and prospects. Beyond that, our definition of “story” has changed. No longer
can we get away with hyping ourselves in what passed for news releases (it’s
questionable if anyone ever bought the hype), but instead we need to focus on
adding value to the people we’re trying to reach. As the mantra in social media
goes, “It’s more important to give than to take, to listen rather than spout.”
All of which gets me to Rule #1 in Marketing and Public Relations. Understand and truly hear your audience. To do that, in addition to listening on Twitter, Facebook and other social media, it’s important to
make your content interactive. So many people in our experience forget that and
make their content pronounce rather than engage.
What do I mean?
When you post a white paper or article (even if it’s not a
blog), ask for comments. Don’t act like you have the last word but encourage
your audience to enhance and even, God forbid, contradict what you say. Same for a video or any content you create. And go one step further. Respond to the comments and
take them to heart. Deloitte, for example, does a great job on its career site on Facebook where it practically begs you to ask a question and get help it’s so engaging.
And how about your press releases? Those announcements from
on high need to be brought down a notch. Post them on your Facebook page or
blog but do so in a way that is not just self-promotional but also encourages a
response.
For the first time ever we have a free focus group that provides us with instant feedback along with the opportunities for collaboration and engagement. How are you taking advantage of the new PR dynamic? I’d love to hear from you.
Wendy Marx, B2B PR and Marketing Specialist, Marx Communications, Inc.

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About the author

Wendy Marx is President of Marx Communications, an award-winning boutique B2B Public Relations agency known for turning companies and executives, including start-ups, into thought leaders. Follow her on Twitter @wendymarx and on Google+ @ plus.google.com/+wendymarx.

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