Ask the PRrofessor – Bringing New and Old Together

It always annoys me when people are hostile to new ideas and new business practices. There’s a big difference between trying to understand how you might implement social media in your business or organization (a good question), or whether it will have value for you (also a legitimate question) AND blanket-stating that it’s all a load of crap. It’s especially troubling when you’re dealing with communications pros fighting new strategies and tools for communicating. On the plus side, it is a good way to screen out the early adopters and those who want to learn from the stick-in-the-muds, stuck-in-a-box crowd.—SVO, Alabama

Dear SVO: I understand what you mean–doing things in a different way is frequently challenging for those who prefer to stick with the “old” ways of doing things. Social media is a good example. Clearly, public relations practitioners need to be adept at using social media because an increasing number of people get their information strictly from the Internet, as opposed to print, TV and radio.

I suggest focusing on traditional values when trying to sell senior managers on the use of social media. Present it as a fulfillment of traditional PR principles: audience segmentation, messaging and measurement. Social media requires that you know your audience and it allows you to communicate with them without going through the media gatekeepers. And it provides both qualitative and quantitative metrics for evaluation.

Once decision-makers are convinced that new PR techniques fulfill old PR principles, they will happily use them.



The “PRofessor” is Fred Whiting, APR, a long-time PRSA-NCC member, chair of the Mentoring Committee and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland and Hood College in Frederick. Fred will answer questions personally and publish some in the chapter’s website and blog.

Do you have a question about public relations? Ask the PRofessor! Submit your questions here or you can leave public questions/comments below.

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