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PRSA Dayton PReSentAtion

Today I am addressing the Dayton Chapter of The Public Relations Society of America on the topic of blogging, podcasting, video, and other forms of content creation.  With all of the hype surrounding Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, it is important to remember the power that these tools can deliver.   I view these as fundamental building blocks that can be used to create a story.   They make the creation and publishing of content simple.   They can be used independently or in conjunction with one another, and can also provide rich content for various social sites, where interactive conversations easily can take place.    As part of the presentation I am going to publish this post, along with video shot at the beginning of the event and a podcast recorded during the presentation, both of which appear below.   The goal is to demystify blogging, podcasting, and video and show how they can be used in real time.


Historically, one of  the greatest challenges PR professionals have faced is demonstrating value to the client.  “What am I getting for my money?”  “What is all of this PR actually doing?”  Traditionally PR was stuck with  showing activity – “Here are the releases we sent to the media, and here is what got picked up.”  This is not useless information, but it is limited in terms of it’s ability to gauge real and lasting value.

The hard part with that model was this.  The channels were limited, getting content published was hard, and getting content that was relevant to the intended audience even more difficult.  Most businesses serve niche audiences, not mass audiences.  The content that is appealing to the target niche is rarely appealing to the mass of “normal” people.  Thus to get placement, PR was tasked with creating stories broad stories about a niche topic that appealed to mass media in order to reach that same niche audience.  These stories were challenging to create and hard to place because the means of distribution were scarce.  Content had to be important to the media to be worthy of being pitched and have a chance of getting picked up.  Still important to the media is not the same as important to the audience, and thus it was difficult to determine if placement actually moved the needle.

Good news.  All of that has changed.  Blogging, podcasting, video, photo, social networks have changed the dynamic from scarcity to abundance.  Now a story doesn’t have to appeal to the masses to be press worthy.  It simply needs to be interesting to the niche.   No longer are public relations professionals at the mercy of an external editor or journalist.  PR professionals can guarantee that content is published.  They can help clients to create and publish it directly through blog posts, blogger outreach, podcasts, video, social networks, microblogs,  and various other online channels.  If a story is appropriate for pushing out to a larger audience, it can still be done, but now activity can be measured to much greater degree.  Not only that, PR professionals can measure the response of the intended audience to that content and shape the future direction of the conversation.  Conversations that generate significant traffic are instantly pitch worthy, while content that flounders for attention can be evaluated against the overall position of the company.  This can drive valuable changes to sales and marketing, which are no longer distinctly different from PR.

No more is there a solid wall between PR and journalist.  Often, they are now one in the same with regard to corporate communications.  PR is about telling the right story and the right time to the right audience in order to achieve the right response – and PR professionals are more capable than ever of successfully executing on this task because of blogging, podcasting, video, and social networks.  From managing product launches, maintaining brand integrity, and organizing promotional events, to customer relations, media monitoring and crisis management, these pillars of pr are now empowered to own the channel to the audience.    This is why it is important to understand how these tools work.

Blogging, podcasting, video, and photos are basic building blocks for conversation.  These pieces of content increase activity and can increase engagement on social sites.  They can help a brand to establish thought leadership, refute and address public complaints, and improve organic search performance.  There is no shortage of value that can be delivered through these channels.  Even in an age dominated by discussion of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts, Video, and Photos are the building blocks of content, which is the foundation of conversation.  The discussions, sharing, liking, ranking, comments, and interactions that take place on social media provide context to the conversation, but content has the ability to start and shape conversation in rich and meaningful ways.  Content is created and then shared on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google Plus and various other networks, serving as the basis for thoughtful discussion.  Approached properly, these tools empower the client to be the publisher, crafting stories that appeal to an existing audience an potentially attract a broader one.

Great blog posts that combine audio, video, and text about a specific topic continue to draw traffic and improve organic search rankings for years.   Real, relevant content sends powerful messages to Google’s algorithms, which are doing their best to mimic your human thinking.   Using content to establish thought leadership, generate awareness and drive sales has the benefit of building upon itself.  Because search engines love recency and relevancy, continuing to publish content on a subject and bringing new and interesting perspectives to the discussion helps you appear in search results, while at the same time adds real value to the people you are trying to engage.  The more people that see and share your content on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the better the content  performs in search, ideally creating a virtuous cycle of searching, finding, and sharing.  The result is the creation of a reputation, the building of consumer trust, and the generation of highly qualified traffic to your business.



People are still resistant to write blogs, create podcasts, publish videos, and put original content on the web – in spite of the ease with which it can now be done.  I think much of what continues to hold people back from using these tools is fear.  It is intimidating to know that you have the power to create at your fingertips.  It is natural to assume that something that was once so scare must be complicated.  Fear is not a good excuse for refusing to act when the data shows that the action is wise.  Still, people resist.  My hope in today’s presentation is to help people overcome that fear.



The following podcast and video were created at the event itself.  The text above is the basic crux of the first 15 minutes of my presentation.  Then we shift gears.   I shot video at the beginning of the event, which I edited and uploaded quickly to youtube.  Then during the event, I asked Natasha Baker and Shelby Quinlivan to sit down so I could record a podcast with them.  The podcast was short, and I showed people just how simple it was to do.    Finally, I did some quick editing, published the file, and embedded it here in my site.  Voila – Podcast created and published.  Social media magical curtain pulled back.   In less than an hour we created these interactive pieces, that could be used to promote PRSA.  Imagine what would happen if we took 2 hours.  Hopefully seeing how the trick works will encourage people to put the magic to work wherever they may work.

PRSA DAYTON PODCAST: Recorded on my macbook and published during the event.



PRSA DAYTON VIDEO: Recorded on my ipad and published as people came into the event.



Blogging, Podcasting, and Video are powerful means of creating content, generating traffic, and starting conversations.   PR professionals these tools can increase accountability and help to demonstrate the importance of the services they provide.  Hopefully  this helps to provide a simple understanding of the importance of these tools and the ease with which they can be used.