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Now That You Know What’s Being Said, Join the Conversation

I hope you read part one of my series on setting up listening posts. Now that your feet are wet and you’re listening to what people are saying, it’s time to join the conversation.

kids talkingStart with a blog or online community tied to something personal like an activity or hobby you enjoy.  Choose something that’s not terribly controversial but gives you a feel for, and thatincreases your comfort level with, commenting in public.

Instead, seek out another person, organization or company writing about what they know…like this blog. You can leave me a comment or a question and we’ll start a conversation. Bloggers write about topics they care about for audiences who enjoy their content. You can search for blogs on topics you care about through any search engine.

As a point of clarification, when I talk about a blog, it’s not a news outlet’s website. Comments on news stories are just that…comments on news stories. Today, many journalists also have blogs based on their personal interests (Rebecca Palsha’s alaskabites.com) or a group of reporters around the beats they cover (NY Times’ political blog).

While you’re still finding your way, create a personal twitter account. Tweet about a local restaurant you enjoy, a play you saw and enjoyed, a book you’re reading, or a place you like to shop. Something that’s not controversial but invites comments. Find followers tweeting things you find interesting and “retweet” it. It’s a safe way to get started and learn what people are tweeting. More Twitter tips.

Also, try commenting on a friend’s Facebook page, or ask your friends for input on an issue you care about. Just choose which tool is more comfortable for you, and then gradually expand.

Once you get the hang of engaging people on a personal level, you just need to translate to your business. Apply the same rules and you’re off to the races.

Next week I’ll address meshing today’s social tools with traditional communications tactics. In today’s world, we definitely need both. I’ll also discuss what’s often the most critical component in communications plans today…engagement.

And, don’t forget to keep listening, even while you’re joining the conversation.

Part 1:   Listening (And Hearing) Crucial In Communication Plans

Part 3: Successful PR Plans are a balance new and old tools and tactics

Part 4:  Reach Out and Engage Someone 

By |2018-03-18T22:50:29+00:00November 17th, 2011|Strategic Communications Planning/Counsel|3 Comments

About the Author:

Mary Deming Barber, APR, Fellow PRSA, runs a strategic communications consultancy where she helps clients understand how to integrate new media into traditional communication programs. Mary has counseled clients in Tacoma, Anchorage, San Francisco, Oregon, and Colorado for nearly 40 years working with a variety of food organizations, several agencies, and as a key team member on two successful US Senate campaigns. 


  1. Charlotte74 November 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    I think that oftentimes that’s what blog owners/writers forget. Blogs are about engagement, and comments can drive the conversation, content and give great ideas as well. Listen, engage and learn.

    • mdbarber November 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm - Reply

      @Charlotte74 That is so true Charlotte. The conversation and learning is a great part of the fun, I think. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll continue to join the conversation.

  2. Joanna Wilson November 28, 2011 at 3:16 am - Reply

    Comments on blogs are also like listening, because I agree with Charlotte that comments can drive conversation and with conversation you will learn lots of ideas.

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