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The Evolution of PR with Deirdre Breakenridge

I’ve always viewed marketing and PR as two arms of the same body. The end goal of both is to raise awareness about something.” A great quote from Matt LaCasse, a participant in this week’s #prwebchat. This time, we brought the talented Deirdre Breakenridge to our stage as she engaged twitter users on the topic of the evolution of PR. Below is a summary and a few interesting tweets from the stream:

SA: How is PR evolving nowadays?

DB: We’ve evolved our approach by listening first and connecting directly with our public. It’s critical to listen, observe and identify relevant conversations rather than just formulating our messages. PR has evolved into a one-to-one communications approach…no more mass pitches! Through social media, we are becoming the people that we want to reach. We’re experiencing new technology and tools that allow us to target and collaborate to build better relationships. We must strike a balance and use a hybrid approach to reach out to constituents. Of course, social media is more about sociology than technology. It’s about people and studying interactions.

 

PR 

SA: How do you deal with competition?

DB: In many cases, your competitors are in your web communities. There are cases where we work together and help one another for the greater good of the industry. Listening through social media is an exercise in learning about your customers and your competitors. Social media policies guide employees as to what can be shared on behalf of their brands.

SA: What do you think about the integration of social media and PR? Advancements for 2011?

DB: The two must be integrated — PR listens to the conversations and guides the social media communication. Public relations should be integrated with all forms of communication. PR builds relationships with the public. Social media helps us to build even better relationships. Social media strategies need the framework provided by PR work.

SA: Listening and engaging is important. Do you have any tips for engaging with customers online?

DB: Customers want you to solve their issues, answer questions and help them to make better decisions. Be human in your interactions…people talking to people. If you listen closely, customers will tell you the best way to engage with them and what to share.

SA: How do you become an influencer in PR, like yourself?

DB: Becoming an influencer means helping people, becoming an agent for change and moving the needle forward. Influencers must stay close to their network and offer great content. People who are influential can affect the way you think and act. There’s a difference between popularity and influence. I may “like” someone but not listen to them! Remember, your network gives you influence; without your community, you have no influence. If you serve your community well, you will maintain and grow your influence.

 

Social Media 

SA: Is there a line drawn between PR and marketing? An overlap?

DB: The lines between PR and marketing are blurring because of social media. PR and marketing will work more closely together as a result of social media. Even before social media, PR and marketing should have been working together to create consistent communication! Because of our social approach, new tools and increased responsibilities, there may be less of a line.

 

Marketing 

SA: Should PR pros be educated on SEO? Aren’t PR pros publishers (of content) in a way?

DB: Yes! PR should be educated in SEO. We’ve come a long way: 5+ years ago, some may have not have been familiar with SEO. Right now we have the SEO basics down. We are using keywords, tagging and categorizing our content. PR needs to take that extra step to understand SEO measurement, backlinks and how SEO drives traffic to websites. SEO and SMO must be in our new dictionary of terms 🙂

 

SEO 

The next #prwebchat features Michael Smart of Brigham Young University – Dec 2, same time, same place!

Have a question you’d like to ask Michael? Leave it in our comments below. Have a topic or guest you’d like to see on an upcoming chat? Email me sacevero(at)Vocus(dot)com.

About Cision Contributor

This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.

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