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« Ketchum Drinks the Blog Kool Aid | Main | Searching the Japanese Blogosphere »

10 Commandments for The Era of Participatory Public Relations

The war is over. The people have defeated the corporation. Need proof, read this week's BusinessWeek cover story.
They are the ones who are in charge now. They are using the Internet to
tell companies what products to make or telling the world what a word means. That's when they're not developing new products of their own and marketing them. Bob Metcalfe was right. The value of the network really does multiply as do its nodes.

So now that the public is credited for calling the shots, what does it
mean for public relations? Here are the 10 commandments for public
relations professionals as I see them in the Golden Era of

1) Thou shall listen – Utilize every avenue available
to you to listen actively to what your publics have to say and feed it
back to the right parties.

2) Remember that all creatures great and small are holy

– It doesn't matter if it's the New York Times calling on you or an
individual blogger, both have power. Take them all seriously.

3) Honor thy customer
– Create programs that celebrate customers and they will celebrate you.

4) Thou shall not be fake
– Keep it real; don't hide behind characters and phony IDs.

5) Covet thy customers
– Don’t sue your fans. You will alienate them.

6) Thou shall be open and engaging
– Involve your customers in the PR process. Invite them to help you develop winning ideas and become your spokespeople.

7) Thou shall embrace blogging
– It’s not a fad, it’s here to stay. Be part of it.

8) Thou shall banish corporate speak
– People want to hear from you in a human voice. Don’t hind behind corporate speak. It will soon sound like ye olde English.

9) Thou shall tell the truth
– If you don’t tell the truth, it will come out anyway.

10) Thou shall thinketh in 360 degrees
– Ask not what you can do for your customer, but also what your customer can do for you.

Reader Comments (15)

Does this make you G-d or Moses?
June 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Pepper
According the Cluetrain gospels, the customer is God.
June 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Burn
Thou shalt stop using faux-biblical lingo. It's been so last millennium for, oh, millennia. And it's probably less widely understood than corporate-speak these days.
June 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew
Thou shalt not write commendments (and this isn't one either) unless they are useful, funny and right on the mark, which these are.
June 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterK
I like this, Steve. But the idea of blogs remaining truly corporate-independent sounds very 1997 (when folks were talking about the entire Web in the same terms.) Sorry to break it to you, but blogs will be absorbed into the corporate structure in time, just like rock n roll, "indie" films and all else!
June 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterScott Baradell
Many of these commandments, in fact, can be condensed into one: Thou shalt think like Joe Everybody. Good PR is telling Joe Everybody what he wants to know, with as little subterfuge as possible.

June 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSamanth
Okay, I'm not enamored of the "commandmments" format either - but the content is right on. As us bloggers critique such things - we also have to rememeber that "Joe Everybody" is still way behind - "What's a blog?" "I'm embarrassed, I love your blog, Mary , but I don't know how to leave a comment.") Forget 1997 or even 1995, a lot of people out there, including some technology vendors, are still back in about 1984 (pre Apple).

I'd addd to Samanth's comment that good PR is also telling people what they want to hear to a certain extent - and within their comfort zones. We all see things through our personal prisms, formed by experience, education, amd most importantly, emotion.
June 14, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMary Schmidt
'The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden.'--G. K. Chesterton ILN 1-3-20

In a nutshell, Thou shall comment on a mission accomplished congratulations are in order ;-) (No amendments required to these commandments)
June 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJozef Imrich
It is my desire to take this kind of thinking and apply it to advertising (in the conventional image-making sense). commandment numbers 3, 4, and 6 are spot on in this regard. if customers can write about a company/product and their experience with it, why can't they make a video? or take some pics? this sort of thing is already being done by some (converse, scion) and needs to be done by more. sort of market research crossed with advertising.
June 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterowen

I do agree with all the points you are raising in your piece and put them to work in my Concierge Services website 'Montclair Concierges'

Sergehttp://www.montclairconcierges.comLet us do the heavy lifting so you can work or play better
June 22, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSerge Lescouarnec
G'day SteveYour blog gets people thinking, and way outside the box...that has to be a good thing. The man who owns the press, runs the press, as teh old expression goes, and now with blogs, combined with an array of news media type websites, we are all shareholders with a say so of what is news, and what gets binned. In Australia, Fairfax and News Limited are starting to come to terms with it.By the way, our website is a lot better looking than our blog, but the blog gets folks thinking. Greg Tingle
August 26, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermediaman
Thanks for the wonderful post Steve. Blogs relate to a person and websites relate to companies. So blogs are great way to remain in contact with your customers face-to-face.
Thanks for the wonderful post Steve. Blogs relate to a person and websites relate to companies. So blogs are great way to remain in contact with your customers face-to-face.

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May 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMateen
a nice site,very good!

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