digital PR conversations

In a recent article Joe Pulizzi of CMI offered 5 reasons why content marketing efforts fail to hit the mark. The first one is operating with the old campaign mindset, rather than focusing on generating conversations.

This is a mistake that Digital PR practitioners should not fall prey to – after all PR as a discipline is about creating conversations. It’s supposed to be about building relationships with stakeholders and fostering understanding between the organization and it’s publics. That takes much more than one campaign. If anyone understands why content should be aiming at creating ongoing conversations, it’s PR folk.

No wonder then that 51% of corporate execs polled by staffing firm The Creative Group think the PR and communications staff is best equipped to handle their social media content – a 12% increase over a similar study done 2 years ago.

Great content must be meet the needs of your audience. How do you figure out what content that is? Start by listening. Remember that old adage: you have two ears and one mouth, so use them in that proportion.

There are so many tools available today that can help you do this effectively. If your budget is small, use Sendible. For those with larger budgets and needs there’s Visible Technologies and Digimind.

Start by identifying the conversations you want to participate in.

  • Who is your audience? Be very specific
  • What issues and problems does your product or service solve?
  • Watch for intent statements
  • Look for requests for information and questions you can answer

Once you have an idea who you should be talking to and what their needs are, figuring out what content you should be creating will be much easier.

Digital PR content is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s a bit like dating. If you start a relationship with someone today, call them everyday for a few weeks and then go silent, don’t expect them to be thrilled to see you when you show up a year later.

It’s not rocket science!

There are many examples of digital campaigns: one was a toothpaste brand that targeted college kids. They ran an excellent campaign that got the attention of tens of thousands of young adults, got them interested and engaged with the brand and then ended the campaign. Patted themselves on the back for a job well done. They created a community of brand advocates. But why would you expect this group to hang around and stay engaged if no one keeps talking to them?

Way back in 1999 The Cluetrain Manifesto stated that Markets are Conversations and corporate America had not figured that out. Seems like we’re still learning the lesson.