A question about sample PR policies for social media came across a list I am on. I responded by saying that before writing policies, it’s important to know how you want to engage online and to what purpose. Without that, any policy is going to be irrelevant, at best, or more likely harmful.
I have written a framing device that you can use for yourself, team, or even your Board to discuss at what level your organization wants to and should be engaged in online conversations: Four Levels of Engagement in the Blogosphere.
Here are some questions you can use with the device:
- At what level are we currently?
- What level would best serve our goals and mission?
- What level will our current organizational culture support?
The answers to those questions should get you on solid footing for identifying how you want to engage online.
For more on PR and social media, see this post by Steve Rubel on why the future of PR is participation rather than pitching.
I would argue that you should at least be at Level 1 before you start reaching out to bloggers to familiarize them with your organization. I’ve seen quite a few bloggers react poorly to receiving a standardized press release or mass communication; they see them as corporate-speak, which, to be honest, they often are.
I think it’s much more effective to get to know bloggers as people and engage with them as individuals, as much as you possibly can. If you aren’t reading someone’s blog at least periodically, you won’t know what really interests him or her–and sending a blogger information on a topic his/her blog never covers is a) a waste of time and b) can lead to a post about how you spammed him/her with unwanted information …
I agree completely, Lisa. In fact, I’ll have a video product released soon in which I discuss just that.
Coincidentally, Shel Holtz just put up a good and detailed post on this very topic: http://blog.holtz.com/index.php/weblog/bloggers_get_pitched_get_used_to_it/