Go Beyond the Headline

by Dan Ward

The CIO.com headline, “6 ways Twitter can help your business go beyond PR” quickly grabbed my attention.  Maybe I could learn something about how to use Twitter to go beyond traditional PR techniques.

But after reading the article, I think the headline writer may have a mistaken impression of public relations … since each of the “6 ways” already falls within the PR practitioner’s toolbox.

  1. Lead Generation/Customer Acquisition – PR pros use Twitter not only to engage with existing customers, but also to grow an organization’s customer base.  “Reward your Twitter followers with special promotions and flash sales”?  Yep, we do that.
  2. Recruiting – Our agency, and I’m sure many others, often works with clients to manage public relations strategies targeting the best and brightest future employees, and Twitter is one channel often used for recruitment messaging.
  3. Market Research – Anyone who has ever studied public relations knows that in the “RPIE” acronym used to outline PR plans, “R” stands for research.  And it always comes first.  As we say often at Taking Aim, you can’t fire until you first find your target.
  4. Event Marketing – Good advice here from author Jennifer Lonoff Schiff on using Twitter’s advertising features for event promotion, a core practice area for many PR pros.
  5. Customer Service – Yes, indeed, Twitter is a great customer service tool, and increasingly customers see it as a primary tool for communication with a company.  Companies who manage this successfully are those that involve the PR team crafting the customer service message.
  6. Media Relations – Pretty sure media relations does not “go beyond” PR.  It often begins and ends with PR, and I completely agree with the author that Twitter is a tremendous resource.  We often use Twitter not only to research and identify media contacts, but also as the primary communication channel for pitching stories. And reporters increasingly use Twitter to find resources.  Smart PR pros follow reporters who cover their areas of expertise, and regularly monitor their feeds to mine story opportunities.

Looking beyond the headline, the story clearly offers some good suggestions for practitioners to consider for future PR programs.  One hopes we can use such tools to educate headline writers about the work we do.

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