Engaging citizens in social media doesn’t mean posting your news releases on Facebook

Government agencies still do not get social media. Well, most of them. They are still applying traditional media and PR tactics and it’s not really working.

I have been looking around at trying to find good examples of government using social media well and I’m having a tough time finding it.

My observations and research have lead me to believe that social networking sites are basically being used as a newsfeed and place to post things that are not news release worthy.

Nobody cares about the leftovers. They’re not going to engage with that. Government communications departments really need to be more creative with their delivery to citizens. Read more of this post

Earth to Facebook: Talk to your users

Facebook has a major communications problem on its hands. It regularly and consistently makes changes to its platform to the ire of its 800 million users.

Last week, Facebook launched a new news feed that automatically tells people what their top news is. The change is causing many people in my circles to threaten to cancel their Facebook accounts all together. And I’m sure they’re not alone.

And the changes, they keep a coming. Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Timeline at a tech conference which will virtually change the users’ experiences for good. Read more of this post

How to tell your story when the media isn’t enough

When I get into the media relations part of communications one of the things that I keep asking myself is when I have news is ‘how can I reach more journalists and get them to “buy” the importance of my, or my client’s, news?’

Being in a niche industry, I usually get interest from all of the same players. But when I go outside of that realm, I can see those journalists’ eyes glazing over right on the phone and wondering why I am wasting their time. The thing is that topics, like utility rate increases, that affect people are important to a newspaper’s readers and it’s likely that those readers want/need to know about it.

I find that journalists at medium to small circulations are in such a bind from a financial and staff limitations perspective that they cannot devote the individual time to even consider a type of story that is so clearly out of their everyday news cycle. Read more of this post

Giving up control

Control has to be one of the biggest hurdles that communications professionals have to overcome to begin using social media where they work. It doesn’t matter how well you have crafted a strategy to create awesome content that will attract new customers or become the trusted source of information, if you cannot convince management to let loose the reigns of control that plan is dead on arrival.

In my experience with the government, this has never been more true. The agency I work for is the perfect candidate to use social media to get its message out to its core constituency. As an advocate for residential utility consumers there is a lot of educating that could be done to clear up the misinformation and misunderstanding people have about utilities. But alas, this agency also is full of lawyers who do everything in their power to stay in control. Read more of this post

Welcome to PR Explorer

Hello. This isn’t my first adventure into the world of blogging but this is my first go at a solo effort. Here I’ll explore my personal experiences in the public relations world and use this space as my outlet to discuss my successes, challenges and observations in this evolving industry.

A little about me. I’m a public relations professional for a residential utility advocate. Changes in government have pushed me to evaluate how I have been growing in the public relations field and how I can effectively reach consumers and educate them about utilities and how they can save money. Lately, I have been exploring social media to help me accomplish these goals. If you know of any resources or public relations strategies that could be helpful, I’d love to hear about them.

I’m excited to see where this journey here will take me. I hope you’ll join me as a chronicle my public relations experiences.

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