By Tracy Weise
President, Weise Communications Inc.
There are two kinds of PR pros: Those who move at the speed of a nanosecond (I predict they will do well) and those who still have the Rocky Mountain News on their media lists (I predict they will soon be applying to MBA programs).
The news, and the not so newsworthy news, is reaching us all at the speed of 140 characters per posting. This means that product and service providers, corporations, politicians, athletes, and all those other entertainers/public figures who have private lives we don’t really need to know about but still do, need to be on top of their images every day, every minute. As PR professionals, it is our job to manage those images in nanoseconds.
Public relations professionals have incredible opportunities to promote our clients in new and innovative, and quite frankly, fun ways. We have not had to rely on old school practices of op-eds, newsletters, published profiles or speaking opportunities to develop the image of our clients or promote services and products. Now we have blogs, casts of the pod and video varieties, twits and flicks and so many more opportunities to publish content, react to breaking news, manage messages and craft identities. PR professionals who are taking advantage of the chance to own their messages without journalists as gatekeepers, will propel their clients to new heights. But those individuals (or agencies) not up to speed in this 140-character world, will be stuck reacting to community perception instead of owning media messages.
Not only do we need to embrace the ever expanding world of social communications, but we must continue to pull our clients to it as well. Posting apologies on personal Web sites, ala Tiger Woods, is clearly not engaging or effective communications. CEO’s blogging about the good, the bad and the ugly on a regular basis, ala Paul Levy of Beth Isreal, are in the game to control and own messages. What type of communication program will you advocate? It is amazing how many times I heard during the past year, “We don’t need to Twitter.” Or, “I am the CEO, I don’t have the time to blog.” I promise you, during their next crisis communication moment (and they will have it), these same people are going to wish they had been participating in online communications for months.
I also predict that the traditionally academic motto “publish or perish” is no longer just for those seeking tenure. Getting good, optimized content online will be a new PR 101 lesson.
In addition, I predict that Oprah will continue to find some way to haunt our PR nightmares.
Finally, and most importantly, I predict that The University of Alabama will be the 2010 National Champions in College Football. Roll Tide Roll.
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