PRSA, bloggers and customer service

For those of you who have been reading this blog and Bill Sledzik’s ToughSledding, you know that there has been some discussion about the Public Relations Society of America. Mostly, the comments centered on a news release PRSA distributed announcing the appointment of Jeff Julin as that organization’s newly named chair.

I wrote to Joseph DeRupo, PRSA’s associate director of public relations. I had a few questions about the release from the standpoint of content, distribution and evaluation. And then, I’ll admit, I was disappointed that I did not receive a reply.

Well, Mr. DeRupo called me and left a message last Friday; I returned the call and talked with him yesterday. I’m satisfied that he made an effort to respond. It could have come a little sooner, but he said he was busy with the Julin announcement and other matters. Fair enough.

I’m not going to rehash the original story and comments here. That would be unfair to Mr. DeRupo at this point. But you can easily find those postings if interested.

In any event, Mr. DeRupo said it is PRSA’s policy to reply to every blogger who is a PRSA member. But for non-PRSA members, it is on a case-by-case basis. This is an issue that I’m sure the entire public relations industry will have to give more thought and attention to – and soon. I would welcome your opinions and experiences in responding to requests from bloggers on behalf of your organization. It seems to me that this is going to be a growing issue from the standpoint of media relations.

Beyond that, I still don’t believe that most personnel announcements get the kind of media placements that make them worth the time and effort involved. But, it’s hard to say no to newly appointed executives – even though that is often the right thing to do. Mr. DeRupo said that the Julin announcement did generate substantial placements. OK.

I give him credit for calling and talking to me about it. Organizations make a mistake by ignoring their key audiences. It doesn’t take all that much to engage people openly and responsibly. Maybe that’s the premise that will start the conversation about bloggers in media relations classes — and in the office among PR professionals.

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