I had the pleasure of visiting Tallahassee this week and speaking to the members of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA). This was my first trip there and it was a memorable one. From the beautiful buildings (especially the old Capital building and Florida State University) to the hospitality of the people and the friendly welcome, I have a new appreciation for Tallahassee. Another unforgettable part of the trip was the professionalism, energy and forward thinking of the FPRA.
The range of social media and PR 2.0 knowledge varied in the group, from the pros who knew that they had to learn a lot more about social media to the experienced members who were already figuring out the best way to use social networks to connect their brands to customers. Regardless of the level of knowledge or SM skill set, as I presented and looked around the room, I could feel the energy, see the smiles, the nodding of the heads and the overall sentiment that “YES, we can use social media to reinvent our PR industry!” It was a good feeling.
The core areas of focus in my presentation, what I wanted each and every member to remember when they walked away that day: attitude/commitment, continued education and then paying it forward, and a willingness to explore and use social media (first individually and then on behalf of their brands). We discussed what was wrong with PR and how social media will fix the issues by using conversations and relationship building to truly put the public back in PR. We’ve been saying it all along, but until now, we haven’t really been forced to practice it.
Some highlights of the meeting and the areas I thought the FPRA found the most interesting:
The Evolution of the Pitch: Together we looked at how the pitch has evolved. It’s no longer that old process of get the messages from the top, draft the news release (don’t forget those canned quotes) and send it out over the wire. Then, you hold your breath and hope it sticks! When I showed my diagram on the Evolution of the Pitch (developed by @briansolis of PR 2.0), I think the group may have found it overwhelming in the beginning. But, a detailed explanation of the different influencers and the importance of how to humanize the story really showed a much better approach to getting your news to market.
The Conversation Prism: (by @briansolis and Jess Thomas): They loved the Conversation Prism. I used version 2.0 and we talked about the great opportunities in the Social Media universe and how there’s a tremendous world with different types of social networks far beyond Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We also discussed how to take the Conversation Prism and narrow the universe to a Conversation Grid (once you identify frequency of conversations) and subsequently identify points of engagement on an Engagement Grid (both of these tools developed by my agency PFS Marketwyse).
The Conversation Prism Workflow Process: The discussion walked through the process of listening and observing all the way through to participation and sharing insight and feedback. There were many people taking notes and a very high level of interest. I don’t believe anyone had heard of the Conversation Prism or had seen it before. I mentioned that it’s in mine and Brian’s book, Putting the Public Back in Public Relations (in a table format rather than the colorful diagram in my presentation).
Some excellent questions surfaced (and you know how much I love to review the questions) relating to some of the individual member challenges. These questions led to discussion around geo-targeting, legal issues with respect to comments on blog posts, learning to filter the noise in social networks, what to do if you have a troll, measuring blogger authority and the best use of the SMR.
I was excited by the interest, the questions and also the feedback I received on Twitter! FPRA is on board with Social Media and PR 2.0 and its members are seeing the true value of engaging in dialog and building relationships the proper way in Web communities.
It is my goal to work with other PR and communications professionals to navigate the social media landscape. We are all in it together and still learning together. If I can help you with anything, let me know. At the same time, feel free to add to the discussion about your meetings and seminars. What type of progress you’ve seen in the PR 2.0 arena?
Thank you FPRA for a fabulous trip to Tallahassee!