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Don’t Forget Your Customers’ Content
By: Mike Bush
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This week, Doug brought up the concept of the social media blender, saying we’re all in it and that we, as flacks, are well served to learn certain skills. But how much mixing has already been done, and what exactly does it mean? More importantly, and are there any other skills beyond social media that we should be considering?
  • The May 2nd Community Manager (@TheCMgr) chat on Twitter (held Thursday’s at 2pm ET, hashtag #cmgrchat, and a great event if you haven’t been a part of it), was dedicated to more effective blogger outreach. Blogger outreach? Isn’t that (at least somewhat) similar to media outreach?

Shouldn’t that live in the flack’s world, instead of the world of “Community Manager?” 

  • This all completely ignores SEO, which is becoming more and more of a function within PR (ask your rep. at PR Newswire or BusinessWire about their latest SEO solution, and within an hour, you’ll have an invite to meet with a “brand new extended team of industry leaders” or some other “thought-leader-y” buzz name).
What SEO Skills should a PR person have knowledge of?
  • Hypothetical situation: Someone posts a question on Quora about whether or not the company you’re a flack for really provides the value they claim to provide.

Is it a flack’s job to reach out with an answer, or does that belong to customer service?

In short, the answer to all of the questions posted above is “yes.”

And while there is an ongoing focus on the first and second bullets, the customer service aspect of the equation is being left out of the conversation.

The Internet writes in ink [/cliche], and with online communities being built around brands and customers expecting virtually real-time customer service from social sites like Twitter, it’s important that companies are putting their best foot forward in every online conversation.

And of course, when a company exec goes looking for ways to ensure that their best foot is the one he or she is putting forward, where do they go?

Directly to the chief flack’s desk.

Todd Defren, Shift Communications’ resident media geek (his title on the blog), recently published his Seven Principles of Content Marketing. Todd’s post is well worth the read and is a great start for any type of pushed content. However, it neglects the principle that all online content, no matter who the publisher may be, is content (in Todd’s defense, he says in the post that it isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list). User Generated Content (remember when that was the buzzword of choice?) gets seen by search engines and consumers alike, and as such, it deserves to have the same level of attention.

As PR folks, that might mean we need to train our customer service teams on how they should be responding to tweets, Facebook posts, or message board concerns.

Or, it might mean that we just added another skill to the ever-evolving list of tools PR people need.

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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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