Paul Holmes 01 May 2011 // 6:27PM GMT
It’s time, apparently, for another battle in the ongoing war between PR and advertising for primacy in the social media realm. Via the Fishburn Hedges blog, I found myself directed to this post by Daniel Stein, CEO of ad agency EVB, who says PR firms are “ruining Facebook” because “no one wants to listen to an endless, aimless stream of dialog about a brand or a company, which is what you get from a strategy that focuses on news, offers and the occasional contest. That’s where PR-led social strategies wind up because those are pretty much the only arrows in PR’s quiver. PR agencies are good at distributing messages, but they aren’t known for really producing anything.” Beyond the fact that Stein obviously has the typical ad guy’s shallow understanding of PR—does he really think PR people sit around all day waiting for their clients to do something newsworthy?—the fact is that while PR people are clearly more experienced when it comes to conversation, advertising folks regularly retort that they have the edge when it comes to creating compelling content. But the reality is that ad people have experience creating on kind of content—the ad. PR people have experience creating multiple forms: video news releases, custom magazines, bylined articles, CEO speeches, employee magazines, annual reports, annual meetings, special events, stunts, websites—most major PR firms have been creating this kind of content on a daily basis for as long as I have been covering the business. And more recently, they have been developing blog posts, viral videos, interactive games, widgets, and all kinds of mobile content. And it’s not just that PR people have experience with a more diverse range of content than their advertising counterparts. They also have experience creating content that generates conversation, because PR content doesn’t buy its way into people’s living rooms—it has to earn any attention it gets, which means PR content only works because it stimulates conversation. And that brings me to the one compelling advantage that PR has when it comes to creating content for social media: the ability to create sustainable content, by which I mean content that doesn’t just get people talking about the content—crazy dancing chickens—but about the brand and the company behind it, like Pepsi’s decision to use social media as an integral part of its corporate philanthropy activity.
Article tagsSocial Media