PR 2.0 – is your communication online, on-message? was the title of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ Marketing Communications Group’s latest seminar, held on 26th November 2008.
The perils and opportunities for PR professionals are many – with social media such as Facebook, blogs, video and audio clips but most PR practitioners lay way behind, it emerged. A show of hands revealed that less than 20% of the audience of PR professionals was up to speed digitally.
The key message from Kevin Murray, Chairman of Bell Pottinger, Matthew McKay, Head of Public Relations for BioMed Central and Tim Rowell, Digital Publisher of the Telegraph Media Group was that the internet has changed fundamentally the way PR people work. As Kevin Murray put it, he had a ‘Copernicus’ moment when he realised that the world of media had changed.
Matt McKay, a seasoned practitioner in digital media, showed that digital techniques are not difficult to use and are not necessarily that costly – but they require trust. A blogger is not a journalist but will need to trust you. Don’t forget, Matt said, that anything you post on a blog or forum will be there forever so be careful.
As to journalists themselves, they are now bombarded with messages both off and online. Tim Rowell explained that the Telegraph had shifted from analogue to digital since 2006 and is now a totally digital 24/7 news operation. Its new integrated newsroom is the largest digital space in Europe. Editors, picture editors, news and feature teams update the website constantly. Good planning and the knowledge of what the journalists require are essential and the implication for PRs is more opportunity for adding a wide range of material, including video clips – but PRs must act quickly.
All in all, the seminar was a great success and will be followed by further events in 2009, which will be posted on the CIPR’s website.