Essential sites for PRs: five communities you might have missed

Essential sites for PRs: five communities you might have missed

Phil Szomszor

Phil Szomszor

There are dozens of new social networks, tools and sources of industry intelligence created every day. For PR and marketing people, keeping on top of them is a full time job in its own right. So, here at Firefly Towers we’ve decided to take some of the strain and tell you about five must-see community-oriented sites that you might not have heard of.

If you have any suggestions, or disagree with our selection, feel free to air your thoughts in the comments section.

1. Glassdoorglassdoor logo

Do you know what your colleagues are saying about working at your company? Did you know that interview techniques and comments about your CEO are being shared with prospective employees? Welcome to Glassdoor, a site that allows employees and former employees to rate their workplace, share salary reports, rate their CEO and more.

Just consider the difference that Tripadvisor has made on hotels and restaurants and you can imagine the effect Glassdoor could have on your company reputation. Like Tripadvisor, the content is user-generated, with over 6 million entries so far. Check out Glassdoor tips on PR Moment for more insight.

Why it's a PR site:

  • Monitoring reviews for issues such as bullying or defamation
  • Engaging with reviewers
  • Contributing photos to illustrate culture of the place

 

2. Mediummedium logo

So, you need to publish some thought leadership content from your MD, but can’t get Legal to agree to a corporate blog. What’s the solution? Medium, the coolest new(ish) blogging platform on the block. Initially only available to well-known bloggers and online celebrities, Medium has opened its door to the masses.

Based on audience feedback, the main advantage seems to be the layout features - i.e. it looks pretty. There’s a nice “estimated read time” for users - which, to me, encourages brevity in writing. The third benefit is discoverability. Being part of a network, your company spokesperson’s blog posts will reach new audiences.

If you don’t like Medium, check out svbtle or ghost. Or LinkedIn posts are worth considering too.

Why it's a PR site:

  • If you can’t get a corporate blog off the ground, here’s a ready-made alternative
  • Another content distribution opportunity

 

3. StateState logo

Here you can state (did you see what they did there?) your opinion on any given subject and ‘tune in’ to the views of others in your network.

Essentially State is to opinions what Quora is to answering questions. Take a topic like “Ed Milliband”. Do you think he’s “intellectual” or a “muppet”? Users can state their views using a tag cloud and argue their case.

State is quite new, so it’s in community-build phase, but is definitely a site to watch.

Why it's a PR site:

  • Ability to canvas opinions
  • Monitor brand sentiment
  • Use it to campaign for or against an issue

 

4. Meetupmeetup logo

Meetup bills itself as the world’s largest network of local groups. It’s been around for a while, but I’m always amazed that more marketing and PR people aren’t aware of it.

Amongst its 9,000 groups you’ll find options for pretty much anything, from Big Data London to The London Vampire Meetup Group - every hobby and interest group is here.

Why it's a PR site:

  • Find speaker platform opportunities for your client/boss
  • Opportunities to sponsor a group, particularly if you’re in a niche area
  • Meet like-minded people and expand your social network in blogger or startup groups

 

5. BloggabaseBloggabase

At my last agency I was often asked for a list of bloggers for one of the agency's clients and my stock reply was, "it'll take a while for me to find them - there's no Gorkana for blogs". I remember Social Media Library made an attempt with this need, but fell apart after a short time.

Bloggabase attempts to fill the gap in the market, incorporating a database of 8,500+ bloggers, a pitch engine for PRs to contact bloggers, plus a Response Source style service for bloggers to put out requests. It sounds like an impressive number and the database is growing quickly, but it's worth bearing in mind that that's a small sample of the blogosphere. Tots100 boasts 15,000 parenting and lifestyle blogs on its database, so if that's your area, it might be a alternative source.

A unique selling point is that bloggers can report bothersome PRs who don't play by the rules. If only there was such a function for journalists, the PR-journalist relationship might be a bit more convivial.

Why it's a PR site:

  • Rapidly growing database of blogs, is searchable via keyword, topics etc.
  • You get an idea of the blog's traffic and search results
  • It's run by PR people who care about this stuff

This article appeared first in Spark, our monthly e-newsletter which is aimed at marketing and PR decision makers. You can sign up by entering your email address in the subscription box on this page. 

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