PR & Social Media is not black & white

You know often the best bit of advice we can get is to step back and look at the bigger picture rather than the small blurry dot we sometimes get so tightly focused on.

This piece of advice is often very relevant for the “digerati”.

How many times do these folks focus on destruction? “X is dead/dying”.

Traditional media and PR are two common targets, but I think the digerati often reduce the value of their insight with their binary approach to the online world.

Often the truth isn’t black or white, it’s grey.

My latest example is Loic Lemeur‘s post: “PR secrets? Bullshit

Loic takes an axe to Brian Solis‘ TechCrunch article: “PR secrets for start-ups

Now these kind of posts (Loic’s not Brian’s) typically wind me up.

I feel the blood pressure rising as I scroll.

But in this instance, I have drawn breath.

You see Loic makes some good points with regard to building awareness for your product online such as:

Build strong links with your community, learn from them everyday, enhance your product. If you get coverage from the smallest blogger go and comment to thank him. Do not be obsessed by numbers and results, it is long term relationships that matter.


The most important asset that a startup CEO has or should build is his community. It has nothing to do with marketing. I took me 8 years since I started blogging in 2003 to have a community and it is no marketing. It is about sharing every day thoughts, tips, advise, learnings with the community.

But Loic also makes the same old self-styled digerati mistakes.

No, I’m not talking about the shameless name dropping…

Everybody tries to pitch Scoble and Arrington. They are tired of the same formatted boring pitches that come to them exactly the same. They are my friends and if I had tried to pitch them like hell they would have never have.

Though I must admit part of me gags when I see it.

No it’s the fact that he’s viewing the world through a very narrow lens. His own.

My advice to CEOs is to read his post, he raises some interesting points.  Then step away from your monitor and remember this is only one part of the world you have to deal with.

If you have time to build great relationships and communities, then by all means do.  Do you have the passion, energy and knowledge to be the face of your company? Then do.

PR is about more than getting mentions on blogs or links on Twitter. Contrary to what you may read online, it’s bloody hard work. It takes time, it takes commitment.

Not everyone is Loic Lemeur and not everyone operates a Web 2.0 start-up (even if it sometimes feels like they do!).

My advice for PR people is to read Loic’s post.  There’s great commentary on the growing need for companies to get involved with the community, to converse with customers and partners.  And there’s also a need for professional communicators to ensure that the company is heard.

Your challenge is to ensure you understand the online world, while bringing real-world perspective and understanding to the table (regardless of what Loic says).

As for the tirade against the word “targets”.  For the love of jebus have you nothing more important to be getting upset about?

Get over yourself.