“The meetings industry is lousy when it comes to PR”*

*Unofficial comment by some of ICCA’s media members.

No better way to kick off this blog than with a great Clapton (or of course Robert Johnson) song:


And here’s why: Don’t worry, I did not sell my soul to the devil or anything like that (see interpretation of Cross Roads Blues), but I sort of arrived at a crossroads when preparing a presentation about PR for the ICCA Research, Sales and Marketing Programme 2011 in Gdansk, Poland.

Share my personal PR 2.0 learning experience

I have been creating and executing ICCA’s PR Plans for a couple of years now and with good results: ICCA has gotten much more coverage and general profile over the years. But still I had the feeling I could do more and that my PR activities were just a side job next to my main activities related to IT projects, web development and ICCA statistics. So here I was in Gdansk talking about all these great methods for conducting successful PR and I realised I was actually not taking maximum benefit of these myself and that there was a lot more for me to learn.

Moreover, when I did a session at the recent 50th ICCA Congress in Leipzig together with ICCA’s media members Alexandra Yeomans of CIM Australasia, Roger Kellerman and Atti Soenarso of Meetings International and Christine Fuchs of TW Magazine called “Fundamentals of PR and implications of modern technology and social media” I realised I also had to become more serious about using the new “PR 2.0” tools, and that ICCA members are very interested to learn more about these and about social media in the meetings industry in general.

To just start using a PR 2.0 tool myself and to create a platform for sharing my PR 2.0 experiences in the meetings industry, starting this blog seemed like a very logical step to take.

Help ICCA members to be more successful in their PR efforts

But apart from sharing my personal learning experience this blog also serves another, much bigger, purpose. I have heard a number of ICCA media members say over the years (at unofficial occasions, usually over a couple of drinks) that the meetings industry is lousy when it comes to PR. And as it is one of ICCA’s strategic goals to enable its members to generate and maintain a significant competitive edge in their PR efforts, we have created some very useful PR tools of which I am convinced they can help ICCA members to improve their PR and social media activities. This blog also serves to promote these tools, and I also hope to frequently use the knowledge of some experienced ICCA media members to share their advise.

The PR revolution

It is a given fact that the new live, interactive Web or web 2.0 or whatever you want to call is forcing a revolution in PR activities and has made the traditional definition of PR invalid: traditional PR used to be all about media relations instead of direct consumer communication. This can be quite confusing and I think a clear distinction has to be made.

Media relations is all about trying to get the endorsement of editors and journalists to write about your subject, which means your story needs to have a news value or you need to get creative and find another way of being newsworthy.
The way in which you conduct PR activities to get your message across through media is very different than getting your message across to your target audience directly through social media and blog tools.

The Live and interactive web makes it so easy to reach out to consumers directly, that PR 2.0 seems to be more about direct relations with your target group than about media relations.

The majority of posts on this blog will be related to media relations, but I will also frequently post articles on direct consumer relations (in which social media plays a major role).

Social media for events

Another big focus of this blog will be on social media for events. The meetings industry is still in its early stages of adopting social media tools in the organisation of events. Together with ICCA’s Social Media Executive Raphael Kamp I am responsible for ICCA’s social media activities and I hope that by sharing our experiences in this field with our members, we can learn form eachother.

This blog is especially focussing on PR by ICCA and ICCA members and will contain case studies and tips & tricks on new technology and social media tools which could help ICCA members in their PR 2.0 efforts.

I hope you will enjoy reading it and find it usefull!

What topics would you like this blog to cover?

Are there any specific topics you would like to know more about and that you would like me to cover? Any questions related to media relations or social media in general, to ICCA’s Press Database or Digital Clipping Service, to PR opportunities at the ICCA Congress, PR opportunities related to your country or city ranking in the ICCA statistics, etc.? Please share and leave a comment by clicking the text balloon on top of this post!

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