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Gini Dietrich

Integrating Social and Traditional Media Relations

By: Gini Dietrich | May 12, 2011 | 
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It’s Facebook question of the week time. Woo hoo!

Today’s question comes from Jenn Whinnem. Before I tell you her question, let me tell you how you can find her.

She is a communications officer at the Connecticut Health Foundation (which will make sense when you read her question), she is a contributing author at SMB Collective, and she can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Check her out. You’ll see her around here and on other blogs, as well. In fact, I’m pretty sure I first met her on Mark Schaefer’s blog, and then on Jayme Soulati’s, and then on Shonali Burke’s, and pretty soon we were stalking one another.

She’s very active online and I know you’ll like her as much as I do.

She asks: 

Hi Gini, I have a Facebook question of the week, if I may! What’s the best way for a business to integrate its traditional media relations function with its social media function? Please keep in mind, these are two separate role. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks Gini!

It’s hard to answer this without knowing how your organization is built, Jenn, but I answered it the way I would LOVE to see all companies manage it.

Of course, there will be different ideas and opinions in the comments so be sure to take all of it into consideration as you work internally or counsel friends and colleagues.

Which means, after you watch the video (which you can view by clicking here), let Jenn know if you agree, disagree, or have other ideas for her.

But! Before you go! Head over to the Arment Dietrich Facebook wall and leave a question for me there. I think I have only two more to answer and you really don’t want me to send Nancy Davis after you…with her New Jersey accent and wearing her tracksuit.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

74 comments
lauraclick
lauraclick

Just wanted to say, YAY, @jennwhinnem rocks! Glad her question was featured.

Great discussion here. It's amazing the craziness out there. Now I'm not sure which is worse - businesses that want to remain in the stone ages and think social media is total bunk, or those that have shiny tool syndrome and want to "do social", but have no idea what that means. Sigh. There's still a lot of teaching that needs to be done! :)

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

I'd just like to thank everyone who commented here today for the insights, humor, debate, and everything else! You've all really encouraged me that we can make this work! And thanks of course to Gini for bringing this to all of you so you could weigh in.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

Ok I am in a hilton that must of really been a hot property 30 years ago.

So what I was trying to say to @jennwhinnem via my Droid2 Phone on SkyFire was we have a habit of fragmenting what should be consolidated because of some awe or newnesss. Social Media marketing is just Marketing. I feel the same for Media Relations and Social Media Media Relations. Formats or platforms might change but the basic rules of engagement are the same in terms of the goals. But I would think someone who be the hub the way @ginidietrich mentioned. Whomever is in charge of Media Relations should be giving out the rules, groundwork, goals etc of Social Media Media Relations (SMMR)

SMMR! SiMMeR Down!

KDillabough
KDillabough

No solution here: just wanted to provide some comic relief. (Actually, it would be comical if it wasn't so true)

Last night at a meeting I was facilitating for early growth businesses and "seasoned" business owners, I dam near had my head taken off when, after a presentation by an ad executive, I asked the group to consider how "traditional/conventional' media would converge/interconnect/relate (whatever word they wanted to use) with social media.

I was then basically thrown to the firepit to even suggest that "social media" had any relevance to, for example, small business in a downtown, "local" business, yadayada. Eegads. I was barely able to get out alive!

Just thought I'd add my 2 cents about the challenges in some (not all) of the solopreneur/small business (small minded...now did I say that?) world. I'm still scraping off the soot:)

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

Noticeably, Gin Blossom is absent from her very own blog; so, because we are the same person, I'll just control the whole thing (besides, I get more points that way). Ta!

NancyD68
NancyD68

When I am not busy "allegedly" wearing a tracksuit and busting kneecaps, I like to help others with these kinds of questions.

I think ideally it should be as Gini suggested, a hub. If you are like me and have many bosses, you probably have a lot of hats to wear. I suggest making friends with as many people as possible to get your message out to as many as you can.

Commenting on blogs is essential. Not just business blogs, but also blogs about your specific topic to really get your message out there. If that does not work, I may know some people....(allegedly)

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

Hi Jen - I figured I would add my two cents in here today.

In my opinion, tradition and social < outreach > are one in the same. Whether you're talking to a journalist at the NY Times or a blogger who has an audience that relevant to your industry, you need to understand who you're talking to, who their audience is and bring them a story that is relevant to their interests.

One of the things that’s cool about the blogoshpere is you can participate in conversations on blogs who you'd love to have tell your story. You can engage and get to know the blogger and the audience by commenting and contributing to the conversation without being a self promoting douchebag.

When it comes time to reach out to the blogosphere, people will know who you are, understand the value proposition and be more than happy to share your story with their audience.

It's the same with traditional outreach. You need to understand what that journalist writes about, which will give you a good indication whether or not an audience is right for your story or not, so you can bring them content that is relevant.

The one thing traditional/social media professionals hate it to be spammed, or brought stories that are completely irrelevant to their work or their audience. They hate it!

Do research, understand where you want to be and which outlets would be beneficial to your company and that will be valuable to the outlets/journalist your reaching out to.

Cheers!

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

@lauraclick heh Laura you are so great. Thanks to @ginidietrich for starting the conversation! I remembered this morning my first notice of Gini was her tweeting at me "why are you wasting time with a palm pre? get an iphone, silly!" and she kept teasing me! I was like "who is this crazy lady?! I'm going to check her out." HA HA

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@KDillabough FEAR! They feel threatened. Un-freaking-believable. We had a conversation last night with an "old-timer" who told me social media is a fad. My girlfriends had to walk me away from the table.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

I'm not surprised. Add this experience to trying to be in PR and explain what it is we do to a small business. There is a group of leaders relishing the new opportunities and then there are those who prefer to remain in the stone ages. One day they'll wake up and see what they've missed. (Gotcha covered, Gin Blossom.) @KDillabough

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

@NancyD68 Hi Nancy, are you for hire on the "busting kneecaps" side? ;)

CT Health has traditionally had a public relations person (Hi Maryland!) and now there's me. Maryland I are on great terms (you couldn't ask for a better co-worker) and were looking for advice from people who have had the roles separated out in this way. We're already collaborating on how we can communicate messages differently.

She and I are going to get together later to discuss Gini's hub idea. And the blogging thing - absolutely. No one will read your blog if you don't at least read other blogs! Unless you're Seth Godin.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

Interesting thoughts, Mark. I have to disagree. Perhaps there's a solid blend or blurring of the lines with national media playing in both "camps" but if you look at trade, regional or local media they pretty much stick to what's familiar. That's my experience anyway. P.S. Costa Rica???!!! Holy Caw! @Mark_Harai

Shonali
Shonali

@jennwhinnem I agree with @HowieG and @ginidietrich about the "hub" being critical. Messaging, etc., has got to be coordinated, and then I think it's a question of education and trust to let people go do their thang... no? It's crazy for one person to try to do it all. Sorry to be late to the convo!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@ginidietrich @KDillabough It's like our two political parties. Extremes. On one side. Social media is a Fad. the other side Social Media is going to solver world hunger, invent cold fusion and cure cancer while doubling your profits all in just the first week!

KDillabough
KDillabough

@ginidietrich Total fear Gini, wrapped in a frontal attack at me, disguised as an authoritative viewpoint. P.S. In your case, I would have had to have been dragged away as I leapt across the table. Kung Fu fighting, social media style, teehee.

KDillabough
KDillabough

@jennwhinnem

Well, I maintained composure in front of the group, although inside I didn't know whether to burst out laughing or scream in agony.

I then simply tried the analogy of: consider all of these platforms/ channels/ mechanisms (whether online or offline) like tools in a tool box. If I want to hammer a nail in a wall, I can reach in for the hammer or, (as I took my shoe off and banged it on the table) I can use another tool that as effectively, efficiently and productively gets the job done. The majority of the room was with me. The rest? In Jayme's @Soulati words, I guess they prefer to remain in the stone ages.

NancyD68
NancyD68

@jennwhinnem I "allegedly" bust kneecaps. :) I often joke that Seth Godin is the reason I blog. One day, I will get a pet, and name it Seth. :)

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Hi Soulati, I'm not clear on what you disagree with, but we all have our own experiences to draw off, so there not really a wrong or right way to get your story out effectively - just experience in actually getting it done, which is all I can share.

Yes, Costa Rica is an interesting little country. My son has a job over at the Four Seasons and he was just telling me about all of the famous people he see's over there.

All I could say is "those folks are nut's... they pay $1200 per night and up just to sleep there!"

Oh well, to each his own I suppose. The last time Bill Gates was out this way (large shareholder in the Four Seasons) he stayed on his yacht... Now I would consider paying $1,200 a night to stay on Bill Gates yacht - LOL!

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

@Shonali @HowieG @ginidietrich Always glad to have you, Shonali! I plan to discuss this hub with Maryland (my co-worker) very soon. She's also eager to learn the social media side of things...I think we're going to have fun.

KDillabough
KDillabough

@HowieG @ginidietrich Can I have the "solve world hunger, invent cold fusion and cure cancer while doubling your profits all in just the first week" for $200 Jeopardy category please?

KenMueller
KenMueller

@ginidietrich i bet. worst part was knowing we were all back here having fun without you, and possibly making fun of you...

NancyD68
NancyD68

@ginidietrich You love me, go ahead and admit it! LOL! We still have to go shoe shopping you know...

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing This has been a full circle kind of day Jayme - I'm looking forward to many more conversations in the future... Pardon my bad manners for not jumping in to your comments sooner. I've only seen hundreds of them. I figured I would just listen and learn for a while : )

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing @jennwhinnem Oh sure Jayme, happy to share : ) You should check out @srinivas Rao's personal blog too - he's been writing a lot about his crazy journey here in Costa Rica. He's really good people, if you don't already know that yourself...

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

OMGosh; I see that House Hunting episode where the SC auto salesman and his wife want to buy property in Costa Rica and the homes are gorgeous and so is the environment. This is one bennie I'm going to cash in on Mark! Of course, I'll earn a few more "points" with more comments at your house first! I hope you keep blogging about stories from there. (Sorry Gin Blossom; just hijacked the thread a minute with Mark.) @Mark_Harai @jennwhinnem

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

@Mark_Harai @ginidietrich @jennwhinnem @Marcus I love this thinking and fully agree with you. PR peeps are stuck in these labels. I was accused of being "old guard" recently on a blog (well maybe me indirectly); however, it is we who are seasoned who can appreciate both "camps" and merge them into a blended solution for the best result. Not sure why you think people won't agree with you, Mark; it's spot on!

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

@ginidietrich @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing @jennwhinnem I have found that many traditional PR folks don't really "get" the building social relationships part of social media. I mean, the research skills are there, developing a solid pitch, no problem - however, the building relationships part is not. That takes an investment of time not normally associated with traditional PR.

In social media, it's not just about the pitch; building industry relationships can make all the difference in the world. @Marcus Sheridan is a good example of this - he's not on the traditional or social media team -- he's the owner of the company.

This strategy cannot work for every company, but it worked dang good for his swimming pool company and it can work very well with many business owners with a local, regional or nationwide presence.

I believe if you took the best practices of traditional PR and mixed it with the best social media practices, you would have a winning strategy.

Traditional - build relationships with journalist relevant to your industry.

Social - build relationships with every customer that walks through your physical or virtual doors.

***Lose the "tradition/social" labels and just be the media outreach team that blows the socks off anybody who encounters your brand anywhere, anytime.

Fat chance everyone will agree with this line of thinking, but I said it anyway : )

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing @jennwhinnem I know lots of people here... I can get some incredible deals with them too : ) I have an extra one bedroom apt. in my basement - have guests there all the time. It's nice to have Twitter friends all over the world! Consider that an invitation anytime you're in Costa Rica.

Nice chatting with you today Jayme : )

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

uhm, Mark, you've just opened the door for more comments on your blog so we can all be BFFs. How many extra sleep slots do you have down there? Uhm, maybe your son gets a discount for the penthouse in the hotel? @Mark_Harai @jennwhinnem

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

@Mark_Harai @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Thanks both of you for weighing in on this. Mark reminds me that my co-worker and I need to be mindful of how we conduct outreach. Maryland is a media relations PRO I'm happy to say!

Jayme points out that local media tend to stick to more traditional contact methods - my experience so far has been that she's right. I've tried to talk to reporters who are online (via Twitter, for example) and heard nothing back. Investigation showed they weren't there all that often.

From Mark I learn that I'd like to be in Costa Rica today.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

@Mark_Harai @jennwhinnem Perhaps that's where the "disagreement" stemmed from, Mark. My thoughts were broader in re strategy rather than a more tactical approach. Not saying you're wrong; just sayin'...

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

@jennwhinnem@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing

Gini and the others have provided a more an overall strategy on social media and it's all great info from people who know what they are doing.

Based on your question, especially since it involved traditional media, I just focused on one aspect, which was outreach.

How does a company reach out to journalist or bloggers who would be willing to share their story with their audiences?

Based on this one question that popped in my mind from your question, I provided what has worked best from my experience.

I hope it helps : )

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