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

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I agree wholeheartedly. I spent my first five or so years out of college working for PR agencies where indeed I became an expert of sorts on my client's business -- mainly to be able to pitch with ease and competently. I don't ever recall being mentored or motivated to have public opinions about my client's business – but then again there weren’t the vehicles that there are now (e.g. twitter or facebook) for easily sharing my thoughts or whims.

I think the dawn of social media tools has empowered PR people in many ways. We are no longer seen to be the mysterious orchestrator -- we are encouraged to have voices, share opinions and be a part of the conversation that is taking place whether that is about our client's business or about what we do on the weekends.

I find it difficult to have public-facing opinions since I've spent over 10 years listening, writing and coordinating the communications strategies of those I who worked for/with. Similar to what Christine describes, I have been uncomfortable when I have been quoted by a reporter after commenting on media call when I had merely guided the conversation to add richness or perspective; the intention was for the reporter to glean necessary info from the sanctioned “expert” (certainly not me!).


@Rebecca - Client hesitancy might be attributed to some of the same factors - not understanding how these tools could be helping them achieve their PR goals. That's where a smart agency account rep can bring a lot of value by pointing to their personal experiences with social media.

I also ask, does social media have to be a separate program or strategy? Why not recommend a test - try out a corporate Twitter account or encourage more thought leadership through involvement in existing blog conversations? There are ways we can all dip our toes into the water without making a drastic shift from more "traditional" PR tactics.

Yes, let's connect for coffee!

I wonder if part of the hesitancy for the PR world to get involved in social media is the hesitancy of the corporate world in general. If companies can't make heads or tails of social media, I imagine that it would be difficult to include it as part of the PR strategy, or to strike out on your own.

Anyway, I also notice you're in Madison - so am I! If you want to grab coffee sometime, I'll convince you to start a blog. :)

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