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I Stole this Headline: Who needs PR professionals when you’ve got tweeters?

Posted on | October 5, 2009 | No Comments

Full disclosure: I took this headline from James Tuckerman who recently used it in a post he wrote in LinkedIn’s Social Media Academy group section.

When I first saw the headline, it so distressed me that I just passed over it.  (For what it’s worth, I’m a lifelong PRSA member.) 

At first, I was glad to see that no one had distinguished the post with a comment.  Then, I wondered why no one had.  So, I read it.

In it, Tuckerman says he was feeling guilty for not integrating PR into a mobile ad campaign he’d run, but then his Tweeps did the job of spreading the word for him. He writes:  ”I don’t think for a second that PR professionals should be replaced with Twitter followers. But I can see a strategy where the two work hand in glove.  Only wish I’d had the foresight to combine the advertising campaign with a PR led competition.”

Ah, Tuckerman redeemed.  Twofold: once, for admitting the importance of PR and, secondly, for acknowledging the value of an integrated approach. Having a team of horses pulling for you in the same direction always works better than having one horse in harness (or multiple horses pulling in different directions!)  

A demonstration I saw in a class I attended this weekend comes to mind.  The instructor was talking about synergy.  To illustrate his point he asked someone to break a single Popsicle stick. Pretty easy. Then he asked them to hold two sticks together and break them. Still pretty easy.  He did this, again, with three single sticks. And, again, the person could break them.  Then he handed out three sticks glued together.  The glue that held them together made it almost impossible to crack the sticks in half.

What’s the lesson for marketers?

It’s not the individual tactic or tactics that create the most effective marketing.  It’s the glue that holds all the tactics together.  That glue is strategy and planning.  It’s also knowledge of how to utilize the different channels marketers have at their disposal from PR to social media to emarketing.

If you’re an event planner and aren’t using email marketing, or a PR professional who doesn’t know how to maximize your use of online surveys, you should learn.  More importantly, you should learn how to effectively tie all your tactics into overall campaigns.

In James Tuckerman’s case, maybe if he had a PR pro’s counsel ahead of time, he’d not only have witnessed the benefit of press coverage, but a savvy PR pro might also have been able to proactively plan and direct an effective social media strategy,  as well as tie in an email campaign and an online sweepstakes.  So, rather than random tweets, he’d have had a whole panoply of social media-based coverage from local blogs, LinkedIn, Stumble, and so forth, as well as results from other emarketing channels.  

Well.  Maybe next time. 

PS – If you want to see James’ original post, visit the Social Media Academy Group on LinkedIn:

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