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Is the Wire really dead? Not as long as PR firms won’t get social media!

Since I started blogging on Visible-Banking.com back in February 2007, I have developed excellent relationships not only with my peers in banking and financial services, digital marketers from various industries, but also with the founders and CEOs of some of the most innovative startups in the online finance space.

Like my fellow prominent industry bloggers such as Jim Bruene(netbanker.com), Chris Skinner (thefinanser.co.uk), or William Azaroff(azaroff.com), I receive a fair bit of correspondence from the PR firms representing those startups, banks, and credit unions.

Social Networking and blogging made it easier for PR professionals to identify the sources which matter, and prioritize their effort and time to focus on building trusted relationships subject matter experts. But based on my experience most PR firms still don’t get it.

The most common mistake is to send a generic email to offer to introduce me to the CEO, even though I have already shot a couple of video interviews with him… They should also stop sending pdf files in favour of a link to a blog post for instance. Not only it is easier to share on the Visible Banking Page on facebook or link from Visible-Banking.com, but it is a great way to drive traffic to their client website.

I was delighted to have the chance to share my views and my advices with the PR industry at the PR Week event “PR, Social Networking and Blogging in Practice” in January 2009.

Please find below the points I made at the event. I believe most bloggers will share my views.

Dos
* Familiarize yourself with my blog first and check any previous references of your client
* Reference one of my latest posts in your email
* Make it easy for me to relay the info, stop sending pdfs!
* Give me something special: embargoed press releases, exclusive statistics, access to the Founder, CEO, or a key user

Don’ts
* Don’t send me a generic email which doesn’t acknowledge my knowledge of the company and the relationship I already have with the Senior Management.
* Don’t send a press release in pdf format

Best practice
Again, let me promote the great work from Debbie Pfeifer, Director of Communications at Wesabe and Martha Shaughnessy, Account Director at Atomic PR.

Social Media is all about being transparent and honest to drive advocacy… isnt’ it?
Please find below an extract of the email (without the name of the financial institution mentioned) I received last week from “a Top Interactive Agency” in the US.

“I am writing you on behalf of Bank XYZ. We noticed that you write about internet banking and social media on “Visible Banking”. We feel your blog is an excellent resource for financial professionals looking for uncensored advice on how to market their company. Your unique business experiences make your blog an exceptional resource for the online banking industry.

Since your blog provides an outstanding service to online banks, we feel your site is the perfect vehicle for spreading the word about our business banking products. We would like to offer you the opportunity to publish unique articles and resources written by our team of writers exclusively for your Visible Banking blog. If there are any specific topics you would like to feature, please let us know and we will work with you to create a tailored message. The only condition being that you will agree to include 2-3 references to Bank XYZ banking products.”

What can I say? I must admit that I wasn’t expecting such a message from a well-known agency, it goes against all the best practices in blogging…

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