“PR agencies are slow”

Last week I attended the Disruptive Media conference in Stockholm with speakers such as Neville Hobson and Kristofer Björkman. The conference covered inspiring topics from online video advertising to blog monitoring and strategies for social media. Fredrik Svensson from Starcom also held a stimulating presentation with five tips on how to succeed with social media campaigns:

1. Start to tell the story but let the consumer finish it.

2. Make the consumer your media channel.

3. Create ambassadors.

4. See social media sites as partners.

5. If possible, go where your customers are, don’t force them to come to you.

During the day, the topic of blogger relations came up several times and although most agreed it is not rocket science, there were many examples of bad pitches. The most telling commment of the day came at the final panel debate about blogging. Roger Åberg, from the Feber blog network talked about how they get pitched with stories. He said that PR agencies are incredibly slow, when one of the Feber blogs blog about a story on Monday, the Swedish PR agency sends a translated press release on Wednesday. In my opinion, these PR agencies demonstrate at least two things:

1. They are not tuned in to the new media logic in which news are instantaneous. When everyone is a publisher, news can travel the globe within seconds. Online publishers in general and bloggers in particular don’t “save” stories to the next day or wait to get the local version. Instead they pick up ideas from around the world and publish without delay.

2. They are not monitoring the blogs they pitch. If they did, they would see that the story is already out.

Several PR agencies were present at Disruptive Media and I know there are a lot of smart PR people in Sweden who get social media. But apparently, many agencies still have a lot to learn about blogger relations. And clients also need to realize that news are global and that there is an increasing pressure to get stories out in most markets at the same time. It is no longer, if it ever was, a good strategy to expect the local agency to get ink on a story that is already out in the prioritized markets. Geography based launch programmes are not as effective in a web 2.0 environment.

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