On Saturday, the 23rd of January, I attended an online PR workshop run by Damien Mulley from Online PR Company, Mulley Communications. I’m a little late to the party, but that’s only because I had to rush out and buy seasons 1-6 of The West Wing and watch them all back-to-back. Thanks Damien!
The course / workshop was broken down into the following areas:
- Basics of Online Communications
- Developing a Communications Bible
- Developing a Communications Philosophy
- Working with Blogs, Forums, Twitter, etc.
- Finding Tools – Who is Talking about you Online?
- Crisis Communications
The Day started off early and I got in a little face time with Dena, Darragh and Leo. I also had the privilege of meeting Martina Skelly of activate.ie (who I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to speak with as I had not had my morning triple espresso). Next time Martina!
The event was held in the Radisson Blu, a venue where I’ve managed to meet numerous online marketing folks for some reason. It seems to be the new Dublin venue of choice.
The day started off on a very casual note — just the way I like it. Everyone in the room introduced themselves (except those who were late) and everyone felt immediately at ease. There were no awkward “Am I going to be asked to get up and give an elevator pitch?” moments. Again, it was just the way I like it.
Damien, who is amazingly comfortable speaking in front of people, kicked the morning off on the topic of grassroots media campaigns using examples from Techcrunch and Hotelicopter, and then dove straight in on the subject of “influencers.” I have a feeling a lot of the presentation was ad-hoc, but it felt very prepared. Damien didn’t need to bother with fluff. Yet again, just the way I like it.
I was expecting there to be a lot of focus on Twitter but was very grateful that here was no focus on any one medium in particular. This was my biggest fear about the day — listening to someone rattle on about Twitter. It was nothing like this.
Damien went on and covered a lot about negative reputation management, which was quite interesting and a subject I feel will be very important in coming years.
There was then some audience participation and I got the most value from the day at this stage when the idea of “photowalks” and facilitation came up. There were some good nuggets of information here.
The next part of the workshop focused on SEO and reputation management. I believe there could have been a lot more said on this subject but I’m a little biased in this area. Leo and I provided the names of some tools for this part. As they are paid tools, I’ve included screenshots showing how they can be used in relation to Damien’s presentation. The tools are OpenSiteExplorer and MajesticSEO. Below I have included some sample images of reports I ran for Mulley.ie on OSE.
In the next example I used Majestic to run a basic link report on the same site. You can use both tools to complement each other and analyze the link graph of any site you choose. If anyone from the workshop would like me to run a report for them, let me know. We have lots of credits with each and it’s sometimes better to try before you buy. I can highly recommend each of these tools.
The next part of the day was extremely interesting, valuable, timely, topical, and relevant. Darragh Doyle, the Community Manager for Boards.ie, gave a talk on the very high profile security breach on the boards.ie website. Darragh went into some great detail on the steps that the Boards and Daft team took to resolve the situation and it turned out to be the perfect example of how to do crisis management right. It was almost as if the security breach was intended from the start to serve as the perfect case study for this workshop.
Next up was the topic of “owning the search results for your own name.” There was some good stuff here.
On a whim, Noel Rock gave a fantastic spur-of-the-moment talk on Soccer Stars for Haiti. He did a great job considering he was put on the spot like that. ;) Noel’s talk transitioned smoothly into the final official area of the workshop. Christian Hughes (who despite having lots to say, can talk the talk) gave a quote I still remember that’s worth mentioning:
A”Anything ‘viral’ is doomed to fail as the idea of ‘viral’ is inherently flawed. There’s no such thing as ‘a viral;’ things ‘go viral.'”
The day closed with a nice informal open session. I’m not so sure this would be suitable for “newbies” as there were a lot of high caliber PR and marketing folks who knew what they were talking about throwing around some interesting ideas. These were smart people. I doubt it could be recreated though.
The day finished earlier than I expected. I was very thankful — not because the content was bad (quite the opposite) but because I hate sitting down for a whole day. The length of the workshop was absolutely perfect.
- I would have liked to see more actual case studies.
- I think the length the day was perfect. I wouldn’t try to make it longer.
- I would have liked if we all went to lunch together.
- I really liked the open session at the end. I think this should be an official part of the workshop.
- I liked the “no pitch” policy. I think it’s important even if some people did ignore it.
- I would have liked more info and examples on dealing with the mainstream press and their process.
The day was great. The day was valuable.
Would I recommend this workshop? Yes.
Would I pay for this workshop? Absolutely.