Tuesday, March 3, 2009

PR & New Media Summit Panel

Just back from Frocomm's 2nd Annual PR & New Media Summit where I was on a panel with Steven Noble, Walter Jennings and Nick Hodge talking about how the Web is changing communications for PR practitioners.
An interesting session (wish I'd had time to stay longer) but I'm afraid we didn't get round to talking about some of the questions raised so, since I haven't blogged quiet in a while, I thought I'd give them a go here.
Q: How do I find out what’s being said online?
I find Google News Alerts and Google Blog Alert deliver most of what I need. For Twitter I use Twitter Search. I don't (yet) feel a need to monitorFacebook (happy to be proven wrong there).
What is interesting though is that I find my social networks actually help me keep in touch what's happening. It doesn't take long for friends to pass on any news I might have missed.
Update: Forgot to mention wotnews, formerly Plugger, an excellent aggregrator of Australian on-line news. Thanks for the reminder Stephen!
Q: How do I integrate digital/online into my PR/comms?
I'll answer that from a practical perspective. For me, the Web-site is the platform from which everything else grows and, since RSS is the glue that binds social networks, the first step I took at the law firm was to add RSS feeds to key pages on our Web-site and build from there.
Q: What platforms should I consider?
I'd say try as many as you can but concentrate on as few as you dare. Many, if not all, social networking tools are free, so the opportunity cost involved in testing them out is negligible. Each tool or community is different, some will suit some organisations and not others and the best way to find out is to try it for yourself.
Q: How do I sell online to a cynical CEO?
I'm fortunate, the firm I work for has innovation as one of its core values---has consistently used technology to increase productivity since it was formed in 2000---and prides itself on delivering an 'intelligent alternative' to other large law firms.
But it is important to have champions within the business and we have a strong one in the Sydney Chairman, Nick Abrahams. We took the view early in last year that, if we were going to be talking to clients in relation to Web 2.0 we had to be walking the walk as well as talking the talk.
Q: How do I blog and make podcasts?
There are several low cost off the shelf blogging tools available. As for podcasts, I'd suggest the first thing to do is to be sure that a podcast is the right vehicle for you. I've posted my thoughts on vodcasts earlier.
There were some interesting issues raised on the panel but I might save those for another post.