8 Takeaways From PR Summit Conference 2011

On Wednesday, TP teamsters Amanda, Sonya, and Ashley joined other media influencers and PR professionals at the 2nd annual PR Summit Conference held at The St. Regis in downtown San Francisco. From early morning to late evening, the conference was buzzing with eager professionals who attended workshops, listened to keynotes, and squeezed in some networking. Major topics discussed were around how PR has changed over the years (“Is the press release dead?”), and how to best reach journalists with compelling and targeted pitches.

Panelists included Ben Parr, editor-at-large at Mashable, and Kara Swisher of All Things Digital. Shani Higgins (CEO of Technorati), PR Guru Eric Schwartzman and Joshua Weinbert (Digital Life Consulting Group) attended as keynote speakers. The conference was packed with Yoda-worthy insight and PR tips. Disappointed you missed it? Don’t be!  We’ve summarized our top 8 takeaways for you here:

  1. The role of PR is to first build credibility for the founder and find distinctive qualities before reaching out to the right people. The product launch is just the beginning, so build out the larger narrative and “values” story for the company early on.
  2. Don’t “Spray and Pray” or “Smile and Dial” when reaching out to press. Do your research, and only reach out to relevant reporters that would be interested in your news or topic.
  3. Yes, the press release is dead. Its main purpose these days is for searchable content about your client. Instead, create authentic and original content to share such as infographics, blogs, and social media.
  4. Integrate social media into the workflow to improve SEO. Record speeches and turn them into podcasts. Make your PowerPoint available to the public through SlideShare. Turn a text transcript into a blog post. Upload your event videos on YouTube or as webcasts.
  5. Social marketing should create conversation online that will increase your client’s SEO for the future. Don’t just post and hope, put your client into dialogue with other companies and consumers to expand their reach. The objective of social media and announcements is not distribution – it should be about building a digital breadcrumb trail; become an expert conversationalist.
  6. When reaching out to journalists, it’s all about the subject line.  Avoid jargon, overused buzzwords, all caps, or the oh-so appalling “Press Release.” Try to approach your subject line as a lead to a story–boil it down to the: who, what, where, when, and why.
  7. Bloggers are gaining in influence.  Be sure to treat them as a legitimate source rather than second tier media. To cultivate relationships with bloggers, help pitch their articles to major outlets that will increase their reach and your client’s exposure.
  8. Look across a company’s departments and customers’ social media responses to find story ideas. Use these different angles to create various pitches that appeal to multiple news outlets.