3 techniques to better public relations

There is something wonderful we can learn from the folks at the National Center for Family Literacy and its educational website Wonderopolis. I’m not talking specifically about the daily wonders posted (even though those are great too) but the effective ways they communicate with the people who visit.

Take a look at any of the posts produced at Wonderopolis and you’ll see well thought out wonders presented and several comments from readers who share their personal experiences or thank the Wonderopolis team for piquing their interest and increasing their knowledge.

And after reading several posts, and the comments left, there is a great lesson Wonderopolis can teach businesses and PR pros – the right way to handle public relations, and how to be social.

  1. Be thankful
    No matter the tone or context of a comment left at Wonderopolis, the team there responds; and responds thoughtfully. It may not be appropriate for all organizations to respond to every single comment but a simple ‘thanks’ or appreciation can go a long way towards building relationships and having repeat customers.
  2. Offer suggestions
    There are times when commenters at Wonderopolis do not like the ‘Wonder of the Day’ and they let NCFL know about. Rather than ignore the comment, the Wonderopolis peeps offer suggestions to other posts they may enjoy instead. This is great customer service that not only helps the dissenting commenter, but also guides any future customers who may have the same opinions to alternatives they will enjoy. Suggesting additional education/products/etc. doesn’t have to happen only in the comments. In fact, this is an important element to include in every story that will keep people learning directly from you or your company and a better chance of developing a relationship and a returning customer.
  3. Write great stories
    Before you can get the visitors, you have to build great content to attract them. There are hundreds of ways to write great stories, and once you figure that out the work really begins. Once you’ve determined what your potential customers are talking about, and how you will develop a great story, you need to measure how what you are doing is working and take steps to improve. Gini Dietrich has a great five-step process to help accomplish this over at her Spin Sucks blog.

We can all learn something valuable from Wonderopolis and its engagement with readers. By continually building strong content to keep people interested in learning and then engaging them in a gracious and informative way is sublime example of public relations in the 2.0 world.

What brands do you consider and recognize as “wonderful” examples of public relations you regularly refer back to?

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2 Responses to 3 techniques to better public relations

  1. You know what I love? I love what the NY Times is doing with the Facebook Timeline. They’re telling a phenomenal story about their brand, history, and reporting. It’s a great lesson in how companies should do the same.

    • It definitely draws you in. But I would like to see them be more social. Maybe do more about the processes they go through or the experiences they have getting the story. And I saw RT’ed on Twitter that they are looking for three social media managers, so maybe that’s coming. Some of the reporters at Mother Jones magazine do a great job of this.

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