Posts filed under ‘Joining the unemployed’

Joining the unemployed creates an opportunity!

The In-House PR guy homeless.

Just before Thanksgiving, I joined the 9.3 percent of the workforce that isn’t working. My employer for the past 10 years, K. Hovnanian Homes, laid off another group of employees and I joined a long list of top-notch people shed by the company as it deals with a poor housing market and other issues.

I’m not angry or bitter. Anyone in the housing industry who thought their job was secure either owned the company or wasn’t paying attention. But I am frustrated for two reasons.

First, I was working on some projects that I found exciting. One was continuing to work with paleontologists and geologists to balance the need for new homes with the need to preserve geologic history, including dinosaur tracks and some geologic formations found in very few other places around the world. I had already arranged an agreement between K. Hovnanian and the New Jersey State Museum and held a press conference to announce that agreement. But there was more work to be done.

The second reason is that I was pursuing some exciting communications strategies using social and traditional media. I was also trying to increase the use of Twitter to converse with homebuyers and reporters. And I was building on my experience with optimized releases by developing a plan that would allow us to create an on-line newsroom and create our own online, optimized real estate page. I thought we could complete the circle by using QRs on our print ads, but advertising was handled by another department, and we never got past some casual discussions.

Now I’ll have to look elsewhere to demonstrate the power of integrating traditional and social media in public relations strategies and tactics, something that has had growing appeal to me.

A lot of organizations hire social media managers and many agencies bill themselves as social media agencies. Social media, however, is not a strategic approach to communicating with today’s publics. A social media agency is like hiring a magazine agency or TV manager. One medium does not a strategy make.

Public relations is still about reputation, identifying the different groups that impact an organization’s success and staying engaged with those groups (read two-way communications). It’s about influencing opinion and behavior. Social media is a powerful tool to accomplish that. It’s very exciting to be able to bypass the news media and talk directly with customers or other stakeholders. Too many organizations, however, use social media as a broadcast tool, not listening for a response. Or they use only social media, missing other opportunities to tell their story.

Maybe it’s the “old guy” in me, but I still believe there’s also an important place for traditional tactics such as news releases (provided, of course, they’re well written and talk about something newsworthy) and face-to-face conversation. Those tactics still have an important place in most public relations strategies.

So, rather than a setback, I figure I have an opportunity: I have a chance to find a place that’s concerned about its reputation and wants to maintain that reputation and accomplish its goals by using an intelligent mix of social and traditional media.

 My search is on and I’m excited! Your thoughts?

December 14, 2010 at 5:07 pm 9 comments


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