In 2009 Annual Conference, Monday

FPRA Annual Conference

The 71st FPRA Annual Conference kicked off with a general session lead by Peter Shankman (@skydiver), Founder of HARO.

Peter started his session with a look back to the previous ‘revolution’ almost a decade ago, the Internet. Remember, that was supposed to change everything, but has it? Companies still send out press releases. The same thing applies with social media.

What social media has shown us is that the more we rely upon technology the more we need to rely upon the basic communication skills. Social media has also shown us that it comes down to content. Of course, content has to be written well, it has to tell a story.

Social media is a tool, it is nothing more than a tool. We’ve seen great uses of social media, and very bad uses. Social media is nothing more than the ability to screw up in front of a much larger audience, in record time.

Social media does allow brands to turn their customers and fans into evangelists. It’s no longer about doing PR on your own. It’s about giving customers and clients the ability to do PR on your behalf.

A big question from clients today is viral, “can we make this viral?” How about this, let’s focus on making things “good”. Just focus on making good content.

Peter then showed a video clip from “Where the Hell is Matt?”

The video was never advertised, it was passed along via word of mouth. It’s about trust, it’s one friend passing something along to another.

The big question is, “How do we do that?” Peter joked that if he had the answer to that question, he wouldn’t be speaking here, he’d be off somewhere else, very wealthy. What he will share, is how to prime the pump.

One of the first steps is adoption and acceptance. That is, teaching your clients what the new tools are and how they’re being used. Get them to the point where they accept that they ‘might’ have to use these new tools for communication.

The new concept is transparency. It’s a new way of doing things. Being open and honest can help you in the long run. Building that trust will allow people to forgive you in the future.

Relevance is getting the right information to the right people. The media is not dying, media conveys information, information flow has not stopped. Media is fracturing. Understanding how your audience likes to receive their information is a key factor. When it comes down to it, ask them.

Social media is not a broadcast system, it’s a conversational system. You listen as much as your talk. It’s no longer about ‘me’.

Next, key point – brevity.

Twenty years ago the average attention span was three minutes, in the world of Twitter your attention span is 140 characters. Consider that in your messaging.

Side-note, don’t put all your eggs in one basic. What’s the next Twitter? Keep in mind that things are always changing. Ok, back to the topic of brevity.

How to start/learn brevity? Learn to write, take a class, go to school….but just learn to write. If you can’t write well in long form, how can you write in short form?

We are constantly being asked for our attention, think about how you can stand out?

Become top-of-mind to your audience. People become top-of-mind by constantly giving out information. It’s also about constantly building relationships. Make it about more than information sometimes.

PR has morphed into ‘getting other people to do it for you’ thanks to social media.

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