6 ways PR agencies (incorrectly) approach social media

Hey, PR guy, there’s more to social media than simply pitching bloggers.

Every agency touts its expertise in social media. It doesn’t matter if it’s a PR agency, ad agency, design agency or interactive agency—it’s got you covered for that social media stuff.

“What’s your budget again?” the reps ask.

PR agencies are skilled at “pitching” reporters and editors in the hopes of getting a “hit” that they can add to their clip book.

So in my experience, their preferred approach to “that social media stuff” is to pitch bloggers. I get more than 100 of these pitches a week: “Your blog readers will find our clients’ stuff interesting! Oh, and we built them a Facebook page!”

Here’s how the typical PR pro approaches social media:

1. Relies on getting others to talk up clients. (We know all the key mommy bloggers!)

2. The pitch is dripping with gobbledygook. (Our client has innovative, cutting-edge, mission-critical applications to improve business process!)

3. The pitch prattles on about the client’s product or service. (Features! Benefits!)

4. The pitch includes superlative-laden quotes from third parties, such as customers, analysts, and experts. (Hey, don’t take our word for it—check this out.)

5. The pitch usually includes “an invitation to speak with the CEO.” (I always find it weird that only the CEO talks. What about offering up a customer of the client to talk about how they use the company’s products or services?)

6. Big budget. (Hey, we’re an expensive agency. You want the best, right? Want to see our Gold Quills and Silver Anvils?)

Just as when I talked about ad agencies, I know there are PR agency reps out there who understand there are ways to get their clients “some of that social media stuff” besides just pitching bloggers and getting a few clips.

There are some excellent agencies that combine traditional media relations with content creation and social media. I think the excellent PR agencies understand that they have a role in helping their clients create original content that gets them noticed.

That valuable online information—YouTube videos, blogs, photographs, ebooks, Twitter feeds, webinars, and the like—is a better approach in the long run than generating a handful of clips from bloggers.

David Meerman Scott, bestselling author of “Real-Time Marketing & PR,” blogs at WebInkNow.

Topics: PR

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