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Is Your Personal Social Network the New Media Rolodex?

David Griner gave a great presentation at last week’s Solo PR Summit about the blurring of lines between earned and paid media for solo PR pros.

Within that prezo, an interesting topic came up: the power of personal online networks when it comes to today’s solo PR pro.

For the purpose of this post we’ll broaden that out a bit–the power of personal online networks with it comes to today’s PR pro. That could be in an agency, corporation, or non-profit.

David’s assertion: Is your personal social/online network the new media rolodex?

Is Your Personal Social Network the New Media Rolodex? image Rolodex

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Think about it from a historical perspective.

For years, agencies have hired PR pros because of their media rolodex. In other words, certain individuals were attractive to agencies because of WHO THEY KNEW in the media world.

Some people had strong connections at CNN. Some at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Others in the tech trade media.

Whatever the case, who you knew in the media was, and still is in many cases, a strong factor in getting a job at an agency or corporation.

With the digital and social world expanding the last few years, personal social networks now feel very similar to the media rolodex situation.

How so?

Well, think about someone like Shonali Burke, who’s now a solo PR based in Washington, DC.

Shonali is a solo PR–but for the sake of this discussion, let’s say she was looking for a job with a PR agency in DC.

Shonali is a blogger–has been for five-plus years. As a result, she knows A TON of other bloggers in our industry. Heck, some of them even guest post on her blog from time to time.

She moderates a regular PR measurement chat (#prmeasure). She’s been active on social networks for 5-6 years at least. She has cultivated a loyal community. She is, without question, an online influencer in every sense of the word in our industry.

Now, you don’t think that status is valuable to a PR agency?

Wouldn’t Shonali be helpful in leading blogger outreach campaigns for an agency? Wouldn’t she have some contacts there? Wouldn’t she know exactly how to reach out to bloggers given she IS A BLOGGER? (and if you don’t think agencies still struggle with this–think again).

Wouldn’t Shonali be helpful in making digital vendor selections given her connections? Couldn’t she ask the many friends she has online for advice in this area? Wouldn’t that be helpful to a team that might not have the best digital chops?

Wouldn’t Shonali be helpful in activating her community for the right client project? (like she did with her BlueKey campaign a few years ago?)

You get the idea. Connections matter. A LOT. And today, online connections are every bit as important as real-life ones.

So, I’ll ask again, is your personal social network the new media rolodex?

I can tell you if I were seeking an agency job (and I’m not, to be clear), this is one area I would definitely play up. BIG TIME.

Why? Because the connections and relationships I’ve worked so hard to develop over the years would benefit an agency in a big way. And if they can’t see that, it’s probably not the agency I want to work for in the first place.

After all, there’s a reason people like Lisa Grimm, Greg Swan and Chuck Hemann (Chuck was just lured away from WCG by Golin Harris) are in such big demand.

Sure, they are all very smart people. They have skills that are in demand. No question. But, they also have very large and influential networks that they can lean on, if needed.

So, I think I know my answer to Mr. Griner’s question. What about you? Do you think personal social networks are every bit as an important as the media rolodex of yesteryear?

photo credit: campbelj45ca via photopin cc

Comments on this Article: 1

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  1. Shonali Burke says:

    I left a humungous comment over at your place, Arik, so here, will just say, “Thank you”… this is probably one of the nicest ways to be called out! In short, though – yes, these relationships ARE every bit as important as the media rolodex – in fact, I think in some ways more so. I mean – look at what we were collectively able to do via the Blue Key campaign, and you saw that up close and personal.

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