Digital, Public Relations

Lessons from the PRSA Conference: Amplifying the human digital channel

A keynote presentation from blogger and author Chris Brogan introduced attendees at the conference to the concept of human digital channels, which encompasses the new way that society is interacting with information in the online world.

Interaction is the key point that Chris focused on. The human digital channel is not about creating a website, a blog or optimising search engines, it is about the human interactions that we have with our audience online.

So as practitioners of public relations, how do we cultivate the human digital channel in a way that can make a difference to the organisations that we work with, their customers and stakeholders?

According to Chris, there are three steps.

Step 1 cultivate visibility

Attention is a currency in the digital age and we gain attention through telling stories. Create and tell stories that make your audience the hero.

Step 2 earn leverage

Trust must be earnt from your community and you must be prepared to invest in building relations. Chris spoke about how it is better to have a small group of followers that are engaged with you, than a large group of followers that are indifferent to your organisation.

Step 3 – business is about belonging

You need to be prepared to give a part of yourself or your business to online. Share what you do and contribute to the sharing of knowledge online. Be a part of the community and contribute online.

So what are some of the tips that Chris gave to PR practitioners?
- make simple one page policies about social media in your organisation
- media train, everyone. Everyone in your organisation is potentially a spokesperson and a champion for your organisation online.
- use more videos to tell stories
- seek referrals and testimonials from your customers
- blogger relations needs to become a part of you communications strategy.

Chris Brogan is the president of Human Business Works; co-founder of PodCamp; blogger at chrisBrogan.com; New York Times and The Wall Street Journal best-selling author; Monthly columnist at Entrepreneur.

This post is a report from Chris Brogan’s presentation at the PRSA International Conference in Orlando on 17 October 2011.

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