Tuesday, 6 October 2009

A quick round up of CIPR Northern Conference

I spent today at the CIPR Northern Conference in Leeds. It was a very inspiring day with great speakers and some strong examples of how PRs can improve their service offer in-house or to clients.
For those who can't decipher my notes above, here's a whistle stop tour:
1. FT columnist and MD of Taylor Bennett, Heather McGregor said as the speed of the news cycle increases, the value of opinion grows. PRs need to concentrate on targeting the commentariat by finding out what they like, being creative and building the relationship. You can use a tool like Editorial Intelligence.
2. Newly appointed Deputy MD of Wolfstar, Mark Hanson, stepped into the breach to deliver a session on Twitter in the place of Stuart Bruce, who was unwell. Steps: listen to the conversation, be human, consider who tweets (comms person might not be best choice), evaluate.
3. Yasmin Diamond, Director of Communications at the Home Office said her role is about being diplomatic, resilient and fast-paced. Her team wants to improve the reality and improve the perception of reality. Campaign to prevent theft worked well.
4. MD of Staniforth and author of PR and the Social Web, Rob Brown spoke about social media. Google insights shows in the past five years searches for 'PR agency' have halved. PR practitioners need to embrace social media to connect with journalists, promote brands and engage audiences.
5. John Neilson, Director of Group Media Relations at BAE Systems said working in PR is like being a fighter pilot, flying through the flack. His advice: don't take it personally, be open and PR you work internally so the rest of the organisation knows your value.
6. Sarah Knight and Charlotte Thompson of BJL presented a masterclass on social marketing. Steps: scope, develop, implement, evaluate, follow up. They talked through their campaign to reduce incidents of domestic violence in Hull.
7. Robin Wilson of McCann Erickson demonstrated tools to evaluate social media: twithority, tweetbeep, search.twitter.com. He summed up PR in social media to being about talking, energising and listening.
8. Blogger and former Director of Communications for the Labour Party, Alastair Campbell boiled reputation management down to objectives, strategy and tactics. Get those right - regardless of the tools you use - and you can't go far wrong.

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