Review: Putting the Public Back in Public Relations by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge
Key idea: Public Relations today means attending to relationships. Good PR starts with listening to the desires, needs and pain points of our customers and potential customers. It also starts with an excellent understanding of what our organization can offer to the customer and potential customer. Then, engage in a conversation with the customer and potential customer. This is the crux of what Brian Solis has called PR 2.0.
Ah-has for me:
- Solis draws a distinction between “PR 2.0″ and “Web 2.0.” In fact, he says his PR 2.0 predates the advent of social media. He wants PR practitioners to think first of the relationship, then choose the tactics that are helpful to that relationship.
- The truly excellent thing about Web 2.0 is that it unearths conversations we haven’t heard before — or that we had to spend a lot of money to hear. Think of Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc. as free focus groups.
- While it’s great to land your company in one of the top-ranked blogs, your bread and butter is the “magic middle” of the blogosphere — those in the middle of the bell curve who as a group have influence over vast numbers of readers who trust them.
- We have to get away from using the terms “messages,” “audiences” and “users.” Think, instead, of conversations with customers.
- Measurement of success can include “number of conversations.”
- Don’t speak in messages. Instead, spark conversations based on the unique requirements of each market segment and the people within them.
- The ideal PR professional of the twenty-first century is not only a market expert, but also an informed, socially adept conversationalist — and we all know, or should know, that listeners make the best conversationalists.
- PR is evolving into a hybrid of communications, evangelism, and Web marketing, strung together by the teachings and benefits of sociology, anthropology and psychology.
- You must realize that the metrics for transforming one person into an evangelist far outweigh the resources required to repeatedly throw spaghetti on the wall in hopes that it just might stick.
What I liked: Parts II and III. Lots of specific advice on converting our old PR practices into PR 2.0 ways. I recommend the first chapter of Part III to those of you who are intimidated by the new media and despair at ever getting a handle on it. The authors do a great job putting it in perspective.
What I didn’t like: Awful wordy. I love Brian’s blog posts, even though they always are the longest ones in my feed. The book is loquacious on a grander scale. If you are a reader of Brian’s blog, I recommend speed-reading through Par I to get to the good stuff.