Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
November 3, 2010

Taking Command of Your Messages

With more than 30 sessions related to social media management at this year’s PRSA 2010 International Conference in D.C., it is clear that figuring out social technologies is a priority for public relations professionals, even if it takes them out of their comfort zone. Public relations is about controlling your message, but trying to take control in a communal environment is often a losing battle.

The Conference provided a perfect case study when Mickey Mouse made a surprise appearance to promote next year’s Conference location of Orlando, FL. Shortly after the session, an e-mail was distributed to the PRSA blogging crew asking us not to use images of Mickey in our blog posts. It was to prevent unauthorized commercial use of the image, but it got me thinking about control of content in the age of real-time news. Armed with cell phone cameras, images of Mickey had already been shared through Twitter and other social networks across the Web by many of the non-blogging attendees.

As Charlene Li suggested in her Tuesday morning keynote address, PR professionals need to learn how to “give up control but still be in command.” To that point, I spoke with many attendees who stopped by the Thomson Reuters booth with questions on how they can better manage the monitoring and measurement of their communications once they are released into the marketplace. It’s an issue that is top of mind across the industry, and the exhibit hall was filled with providers offering solutions to help address this need.

Today’s tools allow PR professionals to listen to and participate in the conversation, rather than trying to tame the message. Here, knowledge is power and the social sphere provides a rich river of gold. These tools allow for real-time monitoring of the online conversation and employ measurement tools that can extract market sentiment and opinions from the discussions. So, while you cannot always control the message, you can listen in on how your message is being received and use that information to respond as necessary.

There’s a rich vein of information out there, so get out your tools and start mining it.

Greg Radner, head, PR Services, Thomson Reuters, is responsible for developing solutions for public relations professionals that streamline and simplify their workflow, increase the effectiveness of their media outreach, and help them analyze perceptions among their key stakeholders. Greg joined Thomson Reuters from CCBN, where he was VP of Marketing and drove the development of marketing strategies and programs targeted to the Investor Relations departments of public companies and to portfolio managers and analysts at major institutional investment firms.  Prior to CCBN, Greg worked at FleetBoston Financial in Boston in marketing and product management positions for both the retail and business banking divisions. Greg has extensive experience in brand management, corporate communications, and business development. He blogs about PR measurement and social media technologies on PR Hub. Connect with Greg on LinkedIn and follow Greg on  Twitter @radshiz.

For more coverage on the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress, visit PRSA Intelligence, follow #prsa_ic and the Conference blog.

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