How to turn traditional PR into RP, conversations with Real People

 Traditional PR has a bad rap. Is it time for a change?

Old-style PR smacks of selling.  New-style PR is about RP–Real People having conversations about what they want and need.

Old-style PR puts a face on for customers: new-style PR faces  customers with transparency.

How PR lost its soul
The term “public relations” originally meant “relating” or having a relationship with  your public or customers. Over time, it became skewed to mean putting up a good front.  Because our customers can instantly discuss products and services online, our business practices are transparent; everyone will see through a facade.  Somebody is going to Twitter or Yelp if we aren’t meeting their needs.  I want to improve my business by encouraging my customers to talk to me first.

How can we use conversations and transparency to improve our businesses?

1. Listen, don’t sell: Don’t hard sell your customers even if you’re sure you just invented time travel.  Customers shy away from selling. They don’t want to be sold. They want to be informed.  Let them know what’s happening in your business by using FB, a blog, YouTube, or the media and  invite conversation. With conversations  occurring around every new product, unless the community chooses to discuss your new time travel machine, it may never be used.

2. Stay in beta mode:  Google (this company knows how its done) is always in beta mode, updating, changing, responding to requests. Blogs and FB will enable you to  have ongoing conversations about new approaches and products with customers.  If customers want to go to the future and your time-travel machine just goes to the past, it may need a tweak.

3.  Ouch! Invite criticism: In the new world of marketing and PR, your customers will help your business evolve successfully by telling you what does and does not work–for them.  Be transparent about your plans.  Your customers will not only tell you what they want, they can make your product better. One  may suggest an upgrade that makes your time-travel machine faster!

Great Ebook by David Meerman Scott on the New Rules of PR

How does your business engage in conversations with customers?  Has reinventing your business helped you prosper?

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