I'm very interested in the intersection between PR and social media. PR pros are trying to figure out how to “leverage” social media and measure it in the ways they are used to measuring things. Chris Brogan wrote an insightful post with advice to PR pros. He warns how “messy” it is to embark into social media – most will need a lot of direction as they do.
When it comes to approaching bloggers, it's a very different approach than pitching stories to a publication. Chris says: “I’m writing to you as a human being who likes people, community, innovation, and business, not to mention art, creativity, play, and many other things.” So are the people you're trying to reach. He explains it like this:
“Bloggers aren’t all the same. I’m definitely not the same as Michael Arrington at TechCrunch. I’m not the same as Seth Godin. I’m not the same as most bloggers. I’m just doing my own thing, and they’re doing theirs. It pays to understand which of us you’re trying to reach for what, and reading the last 10 things we posted, just to get a sense of whether we’re the right kind of person to write about your thing.”
One thing is no matter how high up you go people are still learning, whether we're professionals or just starting out. This industry evolves quickly and involves a lot of creativity and unintended or expected outcomes, we all continue to learn. Which is what makes my job fun.
So you will make mistakes – getting involved in social media and various online communities has an element of unpredictability. As Chris wrote: “If you mess up, say sorry fast. Acknowledge that you made a mistake, and then act on what you can do better next time.”
In the comments: “Whats hard for us agency types is the transition between “old school” marketing strategy, where ideas and plans were what was sold to the client; and today, where in social media, participation is the product. Its all new to us, but well get there.”
Participation as product. Is that enough – to simply show that you are participating? Should we tell clients – we're selling you a Facebook profile. We're selling you our expertise. Right now I'm trying to figure out how to charge, what to offer, and how to define these types of services. So are PR firms.