Clients & Journalists Agree… Social Media is Important

posted by Brendan Hodgson

Yeah, yeah… you know it. I know it. And a lot of people in our business are starting to know it. But it’s always nice to hear it direct from the mouths of the people we rely on to pay our bills.

Last week, H&K Canada held its national marketing communications practice meeting in Toronto to discuss trends in our business, identify new opportunities, improve our processes, enhance our creativity and explore new tools and techniques – including social media: the good, bad, and ugly, as presented by yours truly.

Kudos to the conference organizers – Kadi, you know who you are (and all your team) - for including both a client and media panel to discuss – in a frank and open manner - what exactly clients and media expect from us, how we can improve our service to them, and trends that are changing the traditional PR-Media and PR-client relationships. I think everyone in the room – including the panelists themselves – found the exchanges extremely insightful.

And from the perspective of a PR professional with responsibility for helping our clients build relationships with consumers or other audiences via the online channel, I was glad for the opportunity to hear what they had to say about PR and the Internet/social media.

Each of the client panelists — representing the mobile telecoms, beverage and not-for-profit space — emphasized the growing importance of the Web and social media in particular, both as a tool for outreach as well for ‘listening’.

Equally interesting was their acknowledgement that, as the lines of distinction between traditional PR, advertising, and interactive agencies blur in terms of roles and responsibilities, no one department or vendor has a lock on good ideas. Our clients want good, creative, and strategically sound ideas. And they don’t care where they come from. That’s something that we in PR need to consider more so now than ever, as we often find ourselves either cut out from everything but media relations, and rarely at the table when the brainstorming actually happens.

Of the media who attended the next day’s panel and who represented both the national daily print, local daily print, and network television, and when the question of blogging was asked, each of the panelists acknowledged that blogs were, without question, changing the landscape and nature of traditional journalism – both as an outreach vehicle for themselves and as a tool for listening for stories.

These are the kinds of exchanges that we need to do more often.


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