Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - “You Know I Just Work for the Agency…” And Other Forms of PR Self-Doubt

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@Kami - Thanks for the compliment, but more importantly, thanks for sharing your insights! I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with nerves out there.

I agree with you. Words have lasting impact -- this is something we shouldn't forget as we chat with friends on Facebook or share our ideas about a client's industry on a blog.

My approach has always been: consider the client's needs/concerns first. That's the motto I lived by in my agency days, and which helped to create a foundation of trust with my clients. As you point out, the client should always know what you are planning to do, and how/where you intend to talk about them. Confidential information should be kept confidential, no question.

Given the success of this post, you should speak out more frequently. That said, I have been both on the client side, where I served as a spokesperson, and on the agency side, where my clients are the spokespeople.

Even so, when I first started my blog in 2005, I was really nervous about saying something that I would regret later.

And guess what, sometimes I have. But I have always kept in the back of my mind that I am discussing ideas in a public forum rather than personalities. That has kept me out of trouble 99 percent of the time, and even has allowed me to disagree with someone from time to time and still maintain mutual respect.

Still, I am very sensitive about proprietary client information and make a point not to reveal that. Anytime I do reveal something about my client on my blog or in a public forum it is with their express permission.

I think there is a false sense of security that can arise as we participate in these public forums like blogs, Twitter and Facebook (among others). We need to watch out for this and make sure to really think about what we are about to say, particularly as it pertains to clients. When I started blogging in 2005, it was a practice among PR bloggers at the time to NOT discuss client work. I think that was a disservice because it didn't give anyone a chance to learn from each other as we cut our social media teeth. However, that taboo seems to be somewhat broken, and now, we have to be even more careful that we carefully consider what we say in public about our clients, and moreover that they know we are saying it.

@britt - Great point about these new tools opening doors for PR pros to have and share our own opinions. It's like a new awakening for us!

In the past, we might have shared our thoughts over breakfast with an industry analyst at a trade conference, or over a beer with a reporter "after hours." Now those conversations are happening in (very) public forums.

Some of us just need to be assured that we have an opinion worth voicing - whether about our clients or about what we're doing on the weekend (like you said)!

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