Posted by Media Relations on Monday, April 7th, 2008 - 2 Comments »
With the Media Relations Summit 2008 beginning in earnest tomorrow, I’m like a kid in a candy store. A very adult candy store, mind you, though there is candy available for an astronomical fee in the hotel wet bar. But for someone who digs this stuff (and I dig this stuff), the opportunity to pick and choose amongst a smorgasbord of interesting and important topics in the PR industry is like, well, see above.
That the Summit is held in San Francisco doesn’t hurt either.
The summit kicks off with one wail of a bag of chocolates, a keynote address by Charlie Rose entitled “The Art of the Story: Finding the Heart of Drama”. In an industry that often forgets what it is supposed to be offering (to clients and journalists alike), what better way to begin than by reminding us. We can talk about the latest tactics and the new media we can’t ignore, but it’s useless without the basics. Oh, and I happen to be a fan.
The first day also features a number of breakout sessions. I am particularly interested in “Evergreen Magic: How to Make News When There’s No News”, presented by Sandra Fathi of Affect Strategies and Joanne Ritter of Guide Dogs for the Blind. As a veteran of multiple campaigns on behalf of tech companies, medical device manufacturers and new products, there are no two words in a journalist’s vocabulary than “Evergreen Story”. It’s their way of saying “it’s an awesome story, but I’ll never write it.” Here’s hoping Sandra and Joanne have some answers.
The morning session, Influencing the News Influencers: Blogs, Podcasts and Online Video promises to be an interesting discussion, and it will be interesting to compare and contrast presenter Paul Gillin’s views with what we are already executing at our PR agency, M&O.
Perhaps the best part of attending these conferences is the opportunity to hear what works, straight from the horse’s mouth. Two Monday sessions, “Leveraging Wires, Syndicates and News Services to Nationwide Coverage”, featuring writers from the major news services, and “Inside the Newsroom: Pitching Daily Newspapers, featuring writers and editors” from NYT, USA Today, WSJ and the Mercury News should offer valuable insights on this count. I always take these with a grain of salt, as reporters often fail to bear the fruits of their own advice, but it always pays to listen to the people you want to cover your stuff.
Day two offers some potentially compelling sessions on the stuff everyone’s talking about, or at least what everyone’s talking about starting to think about, and how they should maybe starting thinking harder and actually getting a budget for it, and maybe they should take about it at a team meeting sometime…
I’m talking, of course, about social media. Robert Scoble, who is like the Michael Jordan of bloggers, offers his insight in the morning’s keynote address: “The Future of Social and Consumer-Generated Media”. A number of companies are talking about how to leverage social media outlets. But what about the future? My personal belief is that having an adaptable strategy, forged of basic principles, is much more valuable than simply mastering one particular tactic. I’m sure Mr. Scoble agrees with me.
The morning session presents me with a bit of a quandary. “Getting Personal: Telling your Story in Social Media: Facebook, LinkedIn and More”, is the sort of vitamin-packed meal these conferences exist to serve. But my head is telling me that “Meeting the Special Needs of Online Media”, with editors from Salon.com, CNET, Marketwatch and TheStreet.com is going to help me do my job on Wednesday morning. This one’s a tossup. Maybe I’ll go to the less attended one, just to be contrarian.
Our very own Lee Odden will be presenting alongside David Hulme of Vision Media and Brian Kaminski of iProspect on Secrets of Increasing Traffic to Your Corporate Website. As luck would have it, travel arrangements are forcing me to bow out early, which will spare me the awkward task of trying to praise my own company’s CEO without seeming smarmy.
I am looking forward to bringing you updates from what looks, by all accounts, to be a humdinger of an event. I will also challenge myself to use the word “humdinger” in a press release without it coming off as stilted. Either way, check back for frequent updates throughout the day.