Sally Wright, previously known as ‘Social Sal’
So, I’m what you might call a traditional PR or a ‘PR luvvie’ as one of my colleagues calls me. Happy with the tag (no, not hashtag, I’ll come on to that in a bit) as I recall the ‘good old days’ of ‘doing lunch’ with journos and flitting from corporate hospitality and networking events to gala dinners and balls – all with the main aim of building those key relationships and ensuring I was a trusted, credible source who could give reporters what they needed when they were running both good and bad stories.
Those values still hold true but how PRs build relationships with journalists has changed a lot in the 20+ years I’ve been in the world of media and communications. I pride myself on keeping current and continually learning as I’ve moved from role to role – indeed, I have previously chosen to move to different sectors to gain new skills, regularly putting myself out of my comfort zone to challenge myself. However, despite all my experience gleaned from PR-ing pharmaceuticals, IT, retail and charities I was in for a shock when I joined Bromford – a social media shock.
I was asked at interview if I engaged in social media and I was honest. I wasn’t very interested from a personal perspective (ie, I don’t have facebook, I didn’t tweet) but knew it was important in the world of business and PR. News breaks on twitter – take Alan Carr’s recent tweet about how he made a “terrible error of judgement” over using a tax avoidance scheme and has pulled out of it. I hadn’t engaged in social media myself in previous roles: Twitter was solely the responsibility of the IT manager at my last role and he kept it very much to himself and in the role prior to that it, social media was handled by one marketeer.
So, I was in for another steep learning curve when I joined Bromford but always up for a challenge and keen to learn something new, I am now – after an admittedly slow and tentative start – using twitter and yammer regularly and actually starting to get a bit addicted! It’s a different way of engaging and building those key relationships with journos, opening up opportunities to generate stories and keep on top of news. In today’s environment, journalists and PRs rarely get to meet for coffee, let alone lunch, in the time-pressured world we live in so it’s an effective and quick way to keep in touch.
I am now officially a fan of social media when I really didn’t think I would be and I am grateful to Bromford for its forward-thinking approach that has allowed me to dive into the world of twitter, yammer (I may even set up on facebook now) and combine the traditional methods of PR with the digital. Don’t just take it from me – look at the attached article that talks about the skills needed by today’s PR:
So, though the ‘good old days’ of the journo lunch may be over, who knows what opportunities will arise from my new-found world?