Gini Dietrich

Are Service Businesses Now Facilitators of Conversation?

By: Gini Dietrich | January 27, 2010 | 
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No SpinToday’s digital age is about connection, conversation, and candy. Alright, not candy. I couldn’t think of another C word and I love candy.

Connection, conversation, and engagement. Even transparency and honesty. Open your door, pull up your windows, let people in and take a peek around, and decide if they want to work with you or, better, want to refer their communities to you.

It’s changing the way media relations (or publicity) is conducted because no longer do clients have to rely on a PR pro’s Rolodex to get someone to pay attention to them. And no longer are the critics and influencers the traditional journalists. The critics and influencers are all of us – we can rate and review products and services online, we write blogs, we even write editorials that can be featured in places we garner a lot of attention.

I say all of this because I had an odd situation I want to share…while we all fully realize I am not a traditional journalist. I write this blog, I write for two other business blogs, and I write for three trade publications. I don’t have tremendous influence, but I have enough in certain circles to make a difference.

Several weeks ago, I submitted an article I write for a monthly trade publication. Before I sent it to my editor, I sent it to my friend, who I interviewed for the article, for a quick look and approval. My friend is the social media expert at his company and does a phenomenal job showing real business return-on-investment so I wanted to showcase his work in my article, in order to give other companies in the industry some solid ideas they could steal.

A few hours after I sent the article to my friend for his approval, I received the following email from his PR firm:

“In the future, could you contact us first if you plan to feature any of our clients in Publication Name?”

Now, I have a relationship with their client, directly. It’s MUCH easier for me to go directly to him vs. tracking down their PR firm and going through them. This is the case for any influencer – traditional and new. And, until recently, I ran a very traditional PR firm. I would fire one of our account managers if they sent an email like this to a reporter or blogger.

It is the job of communication professionals (no matter if they’re traditional or digital) to facilitate conversations, not get in the middle of them. Likely the PR firm wants to take credit for the story and, if they’re contacted first, they can add it to their clip report. This is not in the best interest of the client.

Heck, it’s the job of any service business to facilitate, not get in the way.

So, I ask you, am I off my rocker or does it make sense that we should facilitate conversation, even if it means we don’t get to take credit?

Image credit: SEO Consultants

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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