As a follow up to my recent guest column on DailyBlogTips about how journalist stay connected to PR people, I asked the LinkedIn audience for their professional take on my column—as a means to extend the conversation.
I was somewhat startled by the replies of many of my fellow journalists. For instance, one journalist replied, “As a journalist, I would ask, ‘Why would a journalist want to stay connected to PR professionals?’"
Are PR People Annoying?
He went on to say that most PR professionals pitch/annoy…bringing a black eye to the field.
Others followed suit suggesting that it is not the job of a journalist to reach out to PR folks, but, rather, for PR people to stay in touch with journalists. As a follow on, someone added:
“I agree… It's the public relations professional's responsibility to keep in touch with journalists, and not in an annoying way. If a PR pro is representing his or her client correctly, there should be a regular (one or twice a month) flow of information that journalists can use to a targeted group of journalists that cover your client.”
There were others that agreed with my premise that a more balanced, two-way street attitude toward the relationship was rewarding for everyone involved.
“Journalists and PR professionals should keep in touch with each other — it's a two-way street. An occasional email, phone call, or even — imagine –a face-to-face chat over coffee or lunch will do the trick. Another option is for journalists to attend the programs offered by local chapters of PRSA.”
Another concurred, “I agree. Communication is a two way street and as professionals, we have an equal responsibility to keep open channels. As a PR professional I have been contacted by journalists on multiple occasions about a potential story. I would say the best way to keep in touch would be with Twitter, Facebook, and of course, LinkedIn.”
Social Media Two-Way Street
"Nowadays," someone else chimed in, "social media plays a major part in providing necessary pieces of information. So, one of the ways for PR practitioners to stay in touch with their journalists could be done by constantly updating online information, make it more searchable online…and try to make it appealing and readable. Naturally, it should be two-way communications. Therefore, all contact details of the PR practitioner should be available on the web site. Blogging and social network groups are getting very popular as a communication tool, so RSS and links like ‘follow me’ would connect the reader to your information."
This is the direction I’d recommended in my DailyBlogTips guest column.
In it, I’d pointed out that one of the purposes of this blog was to be a window into my world as a journalist—to keep up with the stories I was pursuing, and, taking it further, to decode the types of stories I might like to be pitched (based on the bread crumb trail of stories I’d written in the recent months).
So far, however, I haven’t heard from any PR pros in my areas of concentration (i.e., technology use in manufacturing, k12 education, food processing, energy, and other fields). My hope is that this blog will pioneer the type of two-way communications that many in both fields believe is the key to success in this new era of social media.
Where are the PR people? Is the seat at the table what they've always craved, or is this a case of "careful what you wish for?"
In a post titled, Social Work, Stephanie Neil, Managing Automation’s senior editor, examined the role of social networking as it relates to the B2B sector.
As a freelance contributor to Managing Automation, I was keen to read Stephanie’s take on the subject. She wrote, “…at what point does this social networking stuff become destructive rather than productive?"
There's been a lot written lately on social networking and much of it boils down to that question. And I agree with Neil that it's important to think about. She suggests there be a business plan for line of business managers that outlines "process workflows that include the use of these tools."
For example, where along a product development cycle would it make sense to have a link to a wiki for swapping ideas about a project? How about instant messaging? Shouldn’t that be a must-have (not a nice-to-have) when it comes to coordinating multiple constituents in real time?
Social Product Development
In her post, Neil unveils a possible answer in the form of "social product development," a term coined by PTC, a PLM provider. Sort of Facebook meets CAD, but not exactly. The company describes it like this:
Social product development will allow teams to better collaborate across borders and time zones, and will enable innovation of endless possibilities.
Within the next week or two, Neil reports, PTC will unveil some very cool social computing capabilities that take product development to a new level.
And I'll be monitoring the results here.
Thanks for visiting my site after reading my guest column on DailyBlogTips. If this is your first time visiting martyweil.net, you should know that I've been a freelance writer/journalist for nearly 20 years.
For anyone who has more questions about building a network among media relations professionals, please leave a comment. I'll try to answer as many questions as I can in upcoming posts. Please subscribe to my free feed to stay connected.
And thank you Daniel for allowing me to write a post on your wonderful blog.