Its About the Discussion not Dialogue

For some time I have been trying to convince a number of my clients to not only set up their own blog but to participate in relevant industry blogs.  But they have concerns about being open about what they do and allowing competition to know too much … and also give credence to the debate about their products and those of the competition.

But I believe some info that I have gleaned from a recent column by Jeremy Wolf, VP Text 100 Asia-Pacific in B+T mag has provided me with some good ammo to continue to nudge my clients.

“Historically advertising has been described as a monologue, the best public relations as a Dialogue and now social media must, of course, be a discussion.”

He also provides a great analogy to position social media in a context that many in sales and marketing will understand.

Social Networking Interactions are similar to those that occur at a trade show. “while you cant control everything that is said and on behalf of your company, most of the time employees manage to give effective product demos to groups of customers and prospects, interact with snooping competitors and chat with passing journalists. At times it may be chaotic, but its organic and it works.”

But what doesn’t work in Social Networking as a half hearted approach. Without open two-way conversations it is not possible to influence discussions while building credibility and add value.  No matter what people may say it is important to acknowledge what they say and give them the opportunity to consider your point of view.

Blogs and social networks give us all the opportunity to add our voice to any relevant discussion and in doing so become an influencer by adding real value.

This discussion can now often inspire news stories in the traditional media and as such further develop an accurate picture of the company, products, people and directions.

It is an opportunity too good to miss out on…. I think.

But its not easy as Jeff Guin says of his experiences having recently taken a part time role as adjunct instructor in the capstone “campaigns” course for PR majors at the local university

In PR, we’ve always had to be used to the idea of understanding highly technical concepts in widely disparate fields, then plan a strategy to communicate the information to a dozen audiences via two hundred “target” media outlets. Ah, those sweet simple days.

In the wake of Web 2.0, PR folks are the new working mothers of the world. We nurture our audiences in our social media cribs (aka networks) and instill in them the confidence to join the conversation hoping for some as-yet-undetermined benefit when they “grow up.” Oh yeah, we still have to fill our traditional roles if we want to keep Big Daddy happy in the boardroom.

Oh so true!!

4 thoughts on “Its About the Discussion not Dialogue

  1. Hi Rick,

    Great post – glad you enjoyed the B&T article. Suggest you also take a look at this report from the Arthur W. Page Society. Has some great insight into the changes that communicators need to be aware of and the new era of the ‘Authentic Enterprise’.



  2. Jeremy,

    Look forward to more articles from you. Your thinking really kickstarted a few initiatives here.

    Thanks for the link to the Arthur W Page report it is another useful tool in our arsenal.


  3. Baler,

    It was a bit of a ramble … I will be trying to be more succinct and get to the point quickly in future.

    My point is people in business are too slow to recognise the benefits that Web 2.0 applications provide in enabling them to engage in two way discussion with their clients and prospects…. rather than just tell them what they want them to hear!!

    Look forward to your comments in future.


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