Writing a book is an amazing experience. I spoke with over 100 professionals including agency executives, company marketing directors, media professionals and technology gurus. If I were to place a percentage on the number of people who answered the question in a B2C company, “Why would we want to be social (through social media applications)?” I would get a percentage pretty close to 100%. However, if were to ask professionals in the B2B space the same question, the answers are surprising and the percentage would be much lower. I remember speaking to one very intelligent marketing director at a large B2B organization, who said to me, “Why would we want to be social?” When I discussed with him that the Internet is one big conversation and social media applications allow you to talk directly to your customers (as if you were holding one big focus panel) he was excited to hear more. At first take, the idea of going beyond the traditional influencer that we rely on so much in PR was foreign to him. He was viewing PR in the traditional sense. Through my research, I realized that he is among a larger group that must learn to embrace the concept of “social.”
I know that among the PR professionals who read my book, the “traditionalists” will find a great deal of value. This book will help them to understand how the PR profession is changing and so is their role as communicators. I’ve been practicing PR for just about 20 years. I’ve watched the industry grow. It’s fascinating to see new and improved techniques everyday as a result of technology. If you are new to public relations and you grew up with the Web, it may be easier to embrace the concept of PR 2.0. You may have already realized that there are conversations on the Internet daily and you need to be reaching groups in their web communities. Today’s consumers want to gather, organize and share content. However, if you’ve been in the business for many years, sometimes it’s not as easy to embrace the change. PR 2.0 is the true convergence of public relations and the Internet and social media applications make conversations with people easy and more frequent.
My book, PR 2.0, guides the PR pro from the familiar territory of PR on the web (let’s call it PR 1.0), which enabled communications professionals to use the web for its functionality, timeliness and ease of communication to a journey into unfamiliar 2.0 territory. By the end of the book, after reviewing all of the expert commentary provided by the many savvy communications and social media professionals, you will be at the very least ready to personally engage in social media applications. Then there will be others who read my book and they will be ready to jump right in and get their brands conversing in Web communities through blogs, social networking, streaming video and podcasts. Get ready, because the question, “Why would we want to be social?” no longer exists, instead we have a new statement that’s going to be reinforced in the public relations community – We need to be social!