Online PR Course from Damien Mulley

09Feb10

First & foremost I have to apologise to Damien for the tardiness of my post. Sorry Mulley! 😉

At the end of January Damien gave a brilliant course in online PR to a group of people, from a range of professional backgrounds, but all with an interest in the subject at hand. The course ran from 10.30am to around 4pm and was full of really useful and above all, practial information about all things online PR.

The agenda for the day ran as follows:

  1. Basics of Online Comms
  2. Developing a Communications Bible
  3. Developing a Communications Philosophy
  4. Working with: Blogs, Forums, Twitter etc.
  5. Finding Tools – Who is talking about you online?
  6. Crisis Communications

The course covered everything from the basics to more specific examples of how social media could/should be used. As there were people within the audience from a variety of points of view, everyone seemed to get something very different from the day.

From the basics, such as why consumers place a lot of trust in online messages, to the latest statistics for social media in Ireland, to how you should (and perhaps more pertinently, should not) approach bloggers, through to the importance of ensuring that you have a communications “philosophy” for your company and in a very timely way, how Online PR can be used in times of crisis management (timely because it meant that we all got to hear a very inciteful and first hand case study from Darragh Doyle about the preceeding week’s hack).

What really interested me above all else was the development and implementation of a “Communications Philosophy“, which Damien was a huge advocate (evangelist?) of.

So many brands are starting to sit up and take notice of this “new fangled internet thing” and are jumping on to the social media bandwagon, and in many cases they are doing it really well. A lot of companies and brands are still, justifiably, nervous. And some are plugging away at it, but still missing the central point – engagement. Ongoing engagement. Conversations.

Sure, it can be a bit of a minefield; after all, you’re putting somebody right in the firing line, dealing first hand with consumer feedback and bearing the responsibilty of managing this in a way that is acceptable to them, but fits in with your company’s/brand’s personality. It’s clearly important to not only monitor what’s being said about your brand online, but also to respond when suitable. And to know when that time is and when it most definitely isn’t (advice on which was also covered).

But who do you give that role to? Should it be the sole responsibility of the marketing department? Do you outsource it to your PR agency? If you’re a small business you’re more than likely going to have to do it yourself, and do you have the time to be always “on”? Do you give it to your PA? (Don’t laugh, you’d be surprised how common this is, and it’s not necessarily wrong either). Or do you give it to the new graduate because he’s a bit tech savvy? And where does it end?

Damien made a brilliant point, which although, not necessarily new news, is something that definitely gets forgotten more often than it should.

EVERYBODY WITHIN YOUR COMPANY IS RESPONSIBLE

Conversations about your company or brand aren’t limited to the channels that you’re aware of and the conversations you already know about. What happens if a Facebook friend of your receptionist is slagging off your product and the afrorementioned receptionist steps in to defend you – he/she could make things a hundred times worse without the proper training.

Hence the need for a “Communications Philosophy” – ideally something clear, short, concise and ideally limited to one side of A4. With input from everyone across the company as well, to ensure integrity throughout and easier buy-in & understanding when implemented. A lot of large multi-national brands already have them, but I agree 100% with Damien; everyone should develop one. Yes, it’s going to be time consuming to set up perhaps, but the potential negatives are going to take a lot longer to mop up if you don’t. Just ask Vodafone.

So, in summary, I have to say that I was really impressed with the day overall. It’s the first time I’ve actually heard Damien wax lyrical about his “specialist subject”, (which now I read that, surprises me to realise it’s true) and needless to say, he really knows his onions. But more than that, what made the day so much more than “Online PR 101 & how you can create links to drive traffic” was Damien’s inimitable informal style and willingness to engage & participate with the delegates on the day along with a genuine request for feedback. Proving that he lives & breathes all the stuff he preaches, both online and in the real world *cue shock and sharp intakes of breath*.

At the end of the day that’s the real reason I would recommend the course – if you genuinely want to understand how PR works online and really integrate it with your offline communications, as you should, then there’s nobody better placed to tell you.



One Response to “Online PR Course from Damien Mulley”


  1. 1 Tweets that mention Online PR Course from Damien Mulley « Advertising is dead. Long live advertising -- Topsy.com

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