A couple of months ago, I responded to a request on Twitter from Danny Brown asking if anyone would be interested in being interviewed for a discussion on social media. I replied with my answers and became one of the first in a series of posts he did as part of his “Discussing Social Media” blog article series. Knowing what my answers were for why I used social media, I was very interested to hear what Danny’s perspective was on a lot of the same issues, however I changed some of the questions a bit to focus more on PR and how that is changing.
Danny Brown is the owner of Press Release PR, a boutique agency specializing in search engine optimized press releases and social media PR. He is a blog partner of the iEntry and WebProNews business network and a contributor to the Dad-o-Matic project.
Eric Guerin: Why is it important to have a search engine optimized press releases in this Web 2.0 world?
Danny Brown: There are many reasons why a search engine optimized press release still offers value even with social media and Web 2.0 taking such prominence. The key advantage is your prominence in search engines. If a press release is optimized properly then your keywords will see you appear near the top of the major search engines for relevant searches.
This makes it easier for your target audience to find you, as well as bloggers who’re interested in your product. So there’s a definite synergy between SEO press releases and Web 2.0 / social media. And of course there are the backlinks to your site.
EG: How does traditional channel public relations differ from Social Media PR?
DB: Traditional PR will see you approach your promotional campaign from the viewpoint of getting your news on TV, radio or print. You send your news out to your media contacts and relevant outlets and hopefully it’ll be picked up. Social media PR still uses these tools, but it also uses much more. Imagine a Twitter conversation where you can have your client answering questions in an impromptu Twitter meeting, using hashtags to separate from the normal conversation. Or you get to the front page of Digg and all of a sudden your news is viral.
Then you have the social media news release benefits, where you can show videos and a visual tour of you, your company or product. This is far more stimulating and interactive than a traditional PR campaign.
THAT’S the beauty of social media – your client can truly interact from the off, as opposed to hoping for interaction with traditional media outlets. It’s also incredibly cost-effective for the client, compared to often prohibitive traditional PR campaigns.
EG: What social media tools or applications do you use?
DB: There are a few I use for different reasons on a personal level. These are the usual suspects – Twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon, Technorati, etc.
However, from a PR side, there are some excellent applications that aren’t being utilized anywhere near enough. For example, I’ve been a big fan of BackType from Day 1 – the ability to view comments on blogs that are discussing your business or brand is invaluable, and offers a great way to offer instant reaction. I’ve already mentioned how Twitter can be used for PR – but its applications are where it’s really at.
For instance, I use Tweetcloud to offer clients a visual overview of why Twitter is invaluable at connecting with their audience. It shows how popular a brand or term is, as well as offering a business an idea of what their competitors are discussing, and with whom. This kind of information is invaluable when extolling the benefits of social media. I also recommend any client to use Google Alerts and Serph to monitor their company’s reputation online.
EG:f you only had access to one social media tool which would you choose and why?
DB: If it was just one, I’d seriously have to say Twitter. This is without a doubt the future of business networking and micro-blogging, as well as brand promotion, and I can’t believe how many businesses haven’t realized this yet.
EG: What is the one thing you know about social media that many people don’t know or don’t understand?
I’d probably say the understanding that social media is a two-way thing. Most companies that enter social media do so for the wrong reasons – they’re either looking for the quick result, or the all-important Return on Investment (ROI). Social media doesn’t work this way – one thing I always make sure my clients are aware of.
It’s all about building the relationships with the people that can make a difference for you – customers, contemporaries, even competitors in some instances. Interact with your audience, build up that mutual trust and respect. Know that you’re in it for the long haul and that you can’t use social media just to broadcast messages about you and you alone.
Gaining that understanding will enable you to place more emphasis on building long-term relationships that will offer sustained results, as opposed to the quick buck ones that never last. You’ll also be in a far stronger position to build brand loyalty than any of your competitors that aren’t using social media – and that’s a powerful enough reason on its own for using it.
EG: Thanks Danny!