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The Joys Of Syn...dication

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-17

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The panel for the Syndicate Conference session, "Everything you always wanted to know about PR and Syndication but were afraid to ask," traded comments on the tools and techniques for making syndication work in the world of public relations.

WebProNews publisher Rich Ord sat in on the tennis match that was the "Everything...PR" event, and relayed the discussion to us. Sometimes, it's best just to sit back and watch the fun, so we'll observe some key points from the panel's discussion here.

Moderator David Parmet, PR Consultant, Marketing Begins at Home, handled the session for Michael Manuel, Social Media Strategist, Voce Communications; Joel Richman, Senior Account Manager, PAN Communications; and Brian Oberkirch, CEO, Weblogs Work.

And away we go.

Mike:
From what I've seen the clients seem to be driving a lot of opportunity with syndication.

Joel:
East Coast companies are little slower than the West Coast in jumping into new opportunities with things like syndication.

Brian:
There is a free 24/7 worldwide focus group going on right now. Can you add value to a conversation? That is what PR is about now.

Joel:
There is a time management problem for PR professionals to immerse themselves in the intricacies to blogging and social media. This is the biggest obstacle for PR companies not to push social media opportunities to clients.

Mike:
PR agencies don't see enough opportunity to care about the impact of social media.

Mike:
We are all so much in the learning stage. Trends are changing with social media as we speak. PR firms who choose not to pay attention are at a serious disadvantage.

Brian:
A friend of mine said the biggest misconception about the Internet is that it is about computers. It's not about syndication its about connection. Had we told them it is about connecting with people rather than just a geeky tool maybe we would be more successful.

Brian:
Social media is about a lot more than blogging. Content isn't king; I think connections are king.

Mike:
Tags don't have practical implications for the way PR agencies use information right now. I think tagging is not now for consumers; it's for journalists.

Joel:
There is a huge audience in social media that companies can see, if PR professionals show them via some of the online tools.

Mike:
There are so many tools out there that tell you your feet are on fire, but not a lot that tell you how to put the fire out. There are a lot of opportunities out there for PR professionals.

Joel:
Pitching a blogger versus a reporter are different situations, because there are totally different sets of rules. The key is to know what that blogger's interests and motivations are. You can easily draw their wrath.

Brian:
My standing rule is that you don't pitch bloggers. You must first have a relationship in some fashion long before you start talking up a particular product. A blogger may make fun of you if you obviously don't get it.

Brian:
Final thoughts: Get in the game ... start slow and learn ... a blog is not a silver bullet that is going to fix your company.

Our take on the topic? Bring something of value to a blogger's conversation. Obvious pitches to turn the blogger into a corporate mouthpiece probably won't work, though there are exceptions. Participate in the conversation on behalf of a client who trusts the PR firm to do so.

Scrub up with lots of sandpaper, because sometimes a thick skin will be a tremendous asset in times of crisis. Above all, be honest with the blogger and the audience. Lies will be seen through with alacrity, and mocked mercilessly online. And you will deserve every single flame.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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