Back in April, C.G. Lynch wrote about finding a balance between personal and the professional content when using Twitter. While discussing the difference between personal and private, he quotes Kirsten Dixson, “As an example, you don’t want to write that you’re ‘going to the gym,’ but it might be nice to say, ‘I just set a goal to run a marathon.'” The quote has stayed with me ever since. Whatever it is that you have to project to the masses, give it value. You’ll be easier to relate to, and there will be an actual intellectual or emotional benefit that you provide your friends/followers.
Obviously, the concept goes far beyond the world of micro-blogging. We see is everywhere in everyday life – it’s a key to building successful relationships, especially in business. And now, more than ever, it hangs heavily over the PR bubble, threatening to burst it wide open. PR blacklists and blackouts and the ever-spreading controversy about paid blogger reviews are forcing us to constantly re-examine our practices and become better Pros. It’s a lot of work, and it takes a lot of time, but it pays off. I have started many more conversations with members of press by politely introducing them to an idea, rather than a brand. I pitch them an article, rather than a product. I resist the urge to name-drop and flash famous logos in front of their eyes. And the responses have all been positive. Even if they ultimately decide to pass on the specific idea, I’ve established a valuable connection with someone that I’m perfectly comfortable approaching again in the near future (and perhaps is looking forward to hearing from me).
We all make it our primary practice to personalize our outreach and try to illustrate clear connections between our clients and media members, but we need to continue to take it to the next level. We need to be writers and columnists at heart. We need to present them with ideas that they can use – that they find valuable – and who knows? Someday, we could earn “We Heart PR Pros” week.