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08/03/2009 Burlington Social Media Breakfast #2

The second Burlington Social Media Breakfast today was another huge hit. There is a lot of interest and enthusiasm in this town/state to understand and get on top of this. Today's event had a PR focused and it was organized by #BTVSMB club founder Nicole Ravlin of People Making Good. Nicole is one of the best PR peeps in Vermont and she knows that lots of in-house PR people (and agencies as well) struggle to figure out where social media is in their mix.

Today's speakers included Sarah Evans, better known by her Twitter tag @prsarahevans, and Jason Kintzler, founder of Pitch Engine. The two of them did a great job presenting and an even better job at answering the many questions that came their way in the Q+A.

Both of them riffed on the same message: The world of Public relations has changed drastically and the old days of creating a press release and sending it to the media were, if not over, then almost over. One of the realities PR people (and the brands they work for) face is that they can't control the message any more. Both said similar things - It's about starting the story not ending it.

One thing I found very interesting is the emphasis both of them put on search. Over the last several years, a number of people have suggested that search and PR firms should merge. PR ultimately is about Findability. It used to be that you found out about companies through major publications. Now you find them online through blogs and social media, yes, but primarily through search.

Sarah talked a lot about using keywords and incorporating Google Adwords into every PR campaign. Jason talked about adding links and creating short, keyword rich online releases and how all content is searchable.

There were a lot of other good points but these are two of the best for companies and marketers to think about. Social media and online PR not only build relationships with real people, but it's one of the best ways to drive traffic to your brand. The content you create on social media does both.

And as it should, the event did two important things:
  • It got people's wheels turning about how they could use what they learned here today.
  • It made Burlington people want to connect more.
Joe Mescher will set up a TweetChat on Wednesday's to keep this going. In the mean time, make sure you sign up as a BTV social media club member. We're doing smaller, more informal breakfasts each month.

Our next big event is slated for the end of October or beginning of November. Look for details later this fall.

Thanks again Sarah, Jason and Nicole!


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