On June 10-11, I attended the 2010 Vocus Users Conference. Held in Washington, D.C., nearly 400 public relations professionals, all who use Vocus as a PR tool, gathered to learn, network and listen to some of the great thinkers in the industry.

This was my first time attending this conference, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that there were some very strong speakers lined up, however, and was excited to hear about the latest trends in communications. Among the speakers were: David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR; Brian Solis, author of Engage and his blog, BrianSolis.com; and Deirdre Breakenridge, author of Putting the Public Back in Public Relations.

Here are a couple of takeaways, as applied to BtoB communications, from my time spent at the conference:

  • Have an online newsroom. Online newsrooms can be a great way to share information and make the reporter’s life much easier. Include executive bios, product or personnel photos, videos, blogs, and links to social networks. Instead of bogging down an email with several attachments, you can direct the journalist to the online newsroom to pull the information that they need.
  • The person within the company that is in charge of social media should be the person who cares about the customer. Beth Harte of Serengeti Communications made this point, and I completely agree. Often we can get caught up in who owns social media – public relations, marketing, sales, etc. It really comes down to communicating with your customer and who can best nurture that relationship.
  • Speak to buyers in their language, not yours. We must talk to our customer in a way that is meaningful to them. It may not be easy to hear, but the customer doesn’t care about your product. They do care, however, if you can provide them with a solution to their problem.
  • There are no set rules. When it comes to pitching the media, there isn’t a rule book that we can all go by. We must educate ourselves on how someone wants to be pitched. Developing a relationship is a key to success. Spamming irrelevant information will land you in a trash folder. Finally, we must respect their time and treat the media like the humans that they are. Content may open the door, but it’s the human relationship that will carry you much further in your pitch.

These are just a few takeaways from the conference. Every attendee had the opportunity to pick up a copy of World Wide Rave (Scott) and Engage (Solis). I look forward to reading these two books and I encourage you to check them out to learn more about the shift from traditional PR to new communication.

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