• Marty Weil writes for print and the Web. He has more than two decades of experience writing about the use of technology in numerous fields including education, manufacturing, and food processing.

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Social Media Connects PR Pros to Journalists

As a follow up to my recent guest column on DailyBlogTips about how journalist stay connected to PR people, I asked the LinkedIn audience for their professional take on my column—as a means to extend the conversation.

I was somewhat startled by the replies of many of my fellow journalists. For instance, one journalist replied, “As a journalist, I would ask, ‘Why would a journalist want to stay connected to PR professionals?’"

Are PR People Annoying?

He went on to say that most PR professionals pitch/annoy…bringing a black eye to the field.

Others followed suit suggesting that it is not the job of a journalist to reach out to PR folks, but, rather, for PR people to stay in touch with journalists. As a follow on, someone added:

“I agree... It's the public relations professional's responsibility to keep in touch with journalists, and not in an annoying way. If a PR pro is representing his or her client correctly, there should be a regular (one or twice a month) flow of information that journalists can use to a targeted group of journalists that cover your client.”

There were others that agreed with my premise that a more balanced, two-way street attitude toward the relationship was rewarding for everyone involved. 

“Journalists and PR professionals should keep in touch with each other -- it's a two-way street. An occasional email, phone call, or even -- imagine --a face-to-face chat over coffee or lunch will do the trick. Another option is for journalists to attend the programs offered by local chapters of PRSA.”

Another concurred, “I agree. Communication is a two way street and as professionals, we have an equal responsibility to keep open channels.  As a PR professional I have been contacted by journalists on multiple occasions about a potential story.  I would say the best way to keep in touch would be with Twitter, Facebook, and of course, LinkedIn.”

Social Media Two-Way Street

"Nowadays," someone else chimed in, "social media plays a major part in providing necessary piece of information. So, one of the ways for PR practitioners to stay in touch with their journalists could be done by constantly updating online information, make it more searchable online…and try to make it appealing and readable. Naturally, it should be two-way communications. Therefore, all contact details of the PR practitioner should be available on the web site. Blogging and social network groups are getting very popular as a communication tool, so RSS and links like ‘follow me’ would connect the reader to your information.

This is the direction I’d recommended in my DailyBlogTips guest column.

In it, I’d pointed out that one of the purposes of this blog was to be a window into my world as a journalist—to keep up with the stories I was pursuing, and, taking it further, to decode the types of stories I might like to be pitched (based on the bread crumb trial of stories I’d written in the recent months.)

So far, however, I haven’t heard from any PR pros in my areas of concentration (i.e., technology use in manufacturing, k12 education, food processing, energy, and other fields). My hope is that this blog will pioneer the type of two-way communications that many in both fields believe is the key to success in this new era of social media.

Where are the PR people? Is the seat at the table what they've always craved, or is this a case of "careful what you wish for?"


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