As a digital specialist, I am sometimes challenged to defend the idea that social media will soon abolish the role of mass media in our society.
But I always decline, because that idea is ridiculous.
Social media is not replacing mass media, but it is changing the world that mass media writes about, as well as how journalists go about their work.
Likewise, it is starting to change how PR interacts with journalists. Or at least it should be — especially when it comes to working with technology journalists, who are the most likely to be using RSS readers and publishing personal blogs of their own.
For anyone in PR who wants to take this journey, here's a step-by-step guide.
1. Starting blogging. Once you start putting your own views on public display, you'll find more humility and complexity in your writing than in most media releases. You'll also be ready for Step 2, which is...
2. Start reading. Chances are you were already skim-reading every blog written by every journalist you work with, but now that you're a blogger yourself, you'll really read them. Slowly.
3. Start conversing. No, I'm not talk about the sycophantic comments I've seen some PR practitioners leave on journalists' blogs. I'm talking about really discussing an issue — being ready to change, but also challenging what some journalists have written when that's warranted.
4. Share this with clients. By inspiring them to become bloggers too, we're helping them to be more effective spokespeople in all situations.
5. Pitch less. The more confidence you have that the media sees your clients' blogs, the more selective you can be in bringing each story idea to their attention. This will make you a more valued source of usable leads over the longer run.