Ask an experienced public relations guru to explain his or her profession’s fundamental aim and you’ll likely receive some variation of the following lecture: “PR is media relations, investor relations, community relations, customer relations, internal relations, human interest, and crises management.”
PR Has Been Important Since the Dawn of Time.
No doubt cave people intentionally spun messages to achieve goals and solve problems. Could anyone argue that Jesus’ disciples were not public relations stars in their authenticity and holistic intent? Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, John Adams, and the Federalists seemed keenly aware of the effect their words might have on the American population. These folks knew what they were doing.
Throughout recorded history humans have “published” with the tools of the day. Be the venue shouting from treetops, distributing parchment manuscripts by horseback, World War 2 propaganda trailers before Clark Gable movies, faxed press releases sharing professional accomplishments, political billboards, annual corporate reports, or Nixon feigning righteous indignation from the Oval Office, humans forever spin.
Blogs are the New PR.
Business blog masters uniformly preach the importance of focus and purpose. Bloggers who remain cognizant of the 7 classic public relations nodes, within the implicit purpose of their blog’s content, exercise greater mastery of intent and results.
1 Media Relations
Developing and maintaining relationships with important writers, publications (online & brick), and traditional channels like television and paper publications is more important than ever. Ironically, nearly every channel is folding into the Internet at lighting speeds. Does anyone doubt that clickbaiting authority journalists in all medias is critical to the PR success of any endeavor?
Not only are blogs an important weapon in the sphere of media relations but many journalists have blogs themselves- both personally and officially. In addition blogs themselves are often the most important media channel in an industry’s space. Check out Anderson Cooper’s 360 Blog, the New York Times family of blogs, and Search Engine Land.
2 Investor Relations
Though not laid out in classic blog structure, the HP Investor Relations website is a beautiful example of the web being used to disseminate content traditionally purveyed in corporate reports. These days savvy businesspeople seek out web based information to validate potential investments. It’s reasonable to assume that folks look for that information straight from the horse’s mouth whenever possible. Contrast HP’s approach to the unfriendly web 1.0 approach Minnesota Power, a multi-billion dollar corporation still takes.
3 Community Relations
Every business is a citizen of the city in which they live. Employees’ children play soccer there, go to church, attend school, and run into each other at the mall. Business blogs can be used to connect in tasteful ways with friends and family in the community.
This post from a Duluth Hotel-sponsored business blog highlighted the accomplishments of a U14 competitive soccer team, drove thousands of visitors from StumbleUpon, and rippled through mySpace for days. When Outside Magazine named Duluth a Best Town in America aimClear blogged and again engaged folks from all over the world who have an affinity for Duluth, Minnesota. Taking time to touch fellow citizens is always good business.
4 Customer Relations
Business blogging is all about customer relations. Use your blog to engage, enchant, enlighten, and enrich existing and potential customers. Highlight new products, provide technical solutions, software update downloads. One caveat: bloggers don’t respond well to hard-selling so concentrate on creating content to serve, demystify, and add perspective to your customers’ experience with and perception of your products. If your content is truly valuable sales will take care of themselves.
5 Internal Relations
At least 5 of our clients have private blogs that are dedicated to internal communications. Blog posts can be a great way for valuable rank and file employees to feel close to executives and vice versa. Comment threads can be a terrific and unfettered conduit for exchanging ideas, providing feedback, and keeping staff close. Use the Intranet blog to make important announcements, take surveys, and give awards to your staff.
6 Human Interest
People are curious creatures, voyeurs, and exhibitionists. Looking around any businesses day to day bustle it’s hard to miss marriages, wild world tours, those recovering from illnesses, and incredible personal accomplishments. While staying within your blogs focus is important, there is sometimes room to highlight the human experience which is often interesting and provocative.
7 Crises Management
Sometimes everything goes to hell in a hand basket. Factories blow up, people get killed, products are recalled, employees say stupid things and…well you get the picture. Having a well-read business blog can be a highly effective channel to gather in interested parties, provide the essential information, and organized your company’s response to a bad situation
PR is PR No Matter Where It is Published.
Social communities and blogs are essentially new public relations channels which, in addition to traditional media outlets, can’t be ignored. Use of blogs for PR is becoming the norm more and more. The practice of orchestrating “social media releases” means intentionally coordinating optimized content blasts to an ever growing array of channels. Keep in mind the 7 classic PR nodes which traditionally are used codify corporate relationships.