New PR – another failed New Year resolution?


“Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.”

Oscar Wilde


This is typically the time of the year when people start of making predictions or begin to consider some ill fated New Year resolutions.

I thought for a change this year, in the spirit of the season, and to avoid the inevitable resolution failure, I’d try and help others to keep their resolutions.

Whenever I chat with PR students or practitioners on “New PR” or PR 2.0 or whatever, the most common question I get in all these sessions is “how can I get started?”.

It’s a great question.

So I thought that I’d provide some entry-level advice on how to get started.

I’m very confident that I’ll miss something so feel free to add more in the comments.

Here’s my attempt at providing some common sense advice to those PR brethren who wish to get more involved.

The 8 Steps

1) Invest

To paraphrase my late grandmother: “you don’t lick knowledge off a stone”.

If you want to find out and understand “New PR”, you will need to commit some time.

Obviously you’re busy, we are all busy, nevertheless this is the time to invest.

2) Explore

Fire up your web browser.

Use your favourite search engine and search for PR, blogs, blogging, social media etc.

Start with some of the links on the left hand side of this page – sorry that’s my left and your right. 🙂

Browse the PR blog indices, for example Todd Andrlik’s (and Ad Age’s) Power 150 (#237 and still sinking) or Brendan Cooper’s PowerPR index.

3) Learn

image There are some new things to understand and learn, but there is nothing a four year old can’t master so don’t worry.

Learn how to use RSS and see how it can boost your productivity.  Learn how to keep track of the blogosphere or mainstream breaking news without losing your sanity.

Learn what social networking is about.

Understand why people blog and how consumers are using these tools.

Listen to podcasts.

4) Participate

The fastest way to understand this stuff is to get involved.

Set up a page on Facebook, start a blog – if you’re nervous about blogging about your practice or your business, blog about a hobby or something you’re interested or passionate about.

Read RSS feeds

Post a video

Comment on a podcast

5) Research

Good communications is all about the audience.

That doesn’t change from traditional to online Public Relations.

Want to understand how new media will impact your clients?

Talk to their customers.

Find out how they are using social media – you might be surprised and at the very least you’ll be better educated.

6) Experiment

Want to know if these new tools can help you do a better job reaching and communicating with your audience?

Try them.

Try a controlled experiment.

Start small… but start.

7) Measure

The beauty of online communications is the opportunity to measure the impact of your activity. 

Measure visitors, incoming links, subscribers, members….

Measure the impact of your experiment and let those results drive its direction.

8) Breathe

There’s a lot of hype about the changing world of communications.

Don’t panic.

Communications is changing, but not as fast as many of the online digerati will have you believe.

Traditional media and traditional Public Relations will remain the centre of your business for the foreseeable future, but the online element is growing and more importantly might help you communicate more effectively today.

Try it. Jump in.