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SES:SJ – Public Relations Train Wrecks in the Interactive Biz: Disaster can be avoided.

Click Z Track, Monday 9:00 – 10:30 AM
Public Relations Train Wrecks in the Interactive Biz: Disaster Can Be avoided.

Moderator: Kevin Ryan, VP, Global Content Directory, Search Engine Strategies & Search Engine Watch
Brad Berenz, Phd. Chief Content Officer, iMedia Communications
Rebecca Lieb, Editor in Chief, ClickZ Network

Public Relations Train Wrecks

Seventeen minutes into this session I start to wonder if I’m in the right place. I’ve got Rob and Diana split going to some SEM sessions and I thought I’d give the ClickZ track a shot. Not sure what I was expecting, but it’s not this.

Most of the talk is about press releases. I kinda hoped they would discuss more than that. Public relations is much broader than just press releases. I would have much more enjoyed the session if they focused more on reputation management, building relationships and how best to do public relations online. But maybe there are other sessions here a SES that cover that (I haven’t looked!) Based on some of the questions, I don’t think I’m the only one that was expecting a little bit of a broader focus.

There were no presentations in this track, just Rebecca Lieb and Brad Berens, along with moderator Kevin Ryan. Brad talked for a few minutes in a language I didn’t understand. It only all because clearer once Rebecca was able to put his comments into perspective. Yes, it really took me that long to figure out we were talking about press releases. Call me slow.

One thing Rebecca said that I thought was interesting is that you don’t always want to break your own news. Sometimes you want your news broken by a journalists. You can often get better and more widespread coverage. If you can get your press release to a journalist that will break the story you’ll be far better off than putting the press release on your own site. Let them do it… and resist the urge to put the press release on your site until the news story has run its course. ClickZ is less likely go go with any store that has already hit the wires. If it comes from a person then it’s more likely to get heard.

Brad hit the point about making sure your PR pitch targets the audience. Know who you’re going after and make sure that it’s written coherently. He also noted that getting press is often a game of who you know (my words). It’s about relationships (his words).

Develop relationships with reporters and PR people. Every little bit helps. BUT be carefully not to become too reliant on that relationship, you never know when you’re contact is out of contact and you miss an opportunity to get your story out because you sent it to the “black whole of email”.

Not coming from an off-line marketing background, I’ve never had a significant interest in press release marketing. We’ve done a bit of it for clients that have asked, but what I’m finding out is there is a whole other world out there that effectively uses press releases as a way to get valuable news out. I think of it as non-viral viral marketing. It’s not viral marketing they way we know it in the SEO community, but it is a way to get news out into the “legitimate” news industry.

The highlight of my time was before the session started talking with a lovely women, Katherine from White Electronic Designs. This is her first SEM related conference. We chatted up a bit, talked about gambling in Reno, a bit about our businesses… they typical yada, yada.

I’m off to the bathroom and to my next session.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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