The W’s of Digital PR

Social media is about communication.  As The Cluetrain Manifesto pointed out – Markets are Conversations

And as we strive to improve our conversations we have to improve our grasp of the basics of communication.  Take a new look at the 5Ws.

Who:  Who are the people we might want to have a conversation with – women, men, mothers, IT executives?  Are gardeners, nurses or grandmothers?  Are they young, old, well-educated, underserved?  Who talks about you?  Who uses your products and services?  Who has a need you might fill or a problem you could solve?

What: What are people saying about you? What do they think of your company, products and service?  What do they say about your competitors?  What needs do they have that you could identify and fill? What language do they speak – and by that I don’t just mean English, Spanish or Russian.  Engineers have a language.  Surfers have a language.

Where: Where are they gathering?  Where do these conversations take place?  Do some people talk about one subject on Facebook but another on Twitter?  Where are the threats and opportunities?

When: Are there certain times of the day or the week when conversations are more likely to take place? When are most of your fans and followers seeing your content?     When do they respond? That doesn’t only mean time – take a look at when they respond to content.  What did you post and when did you post it?

Why: Why would they want to have a conversation with you – what interests them, what content can you offer that would spark an interesting and positive conversation?  Why are they talking about you – is it positive or negative?  Is it something you could or should improve or fix?

How do you find all this out?  Listen.  Do more than just monitor brand mentions. Really listen.  Dig into the conversations and look for those W’s.

The 5W’s have been a basic part of PR for over a century.  They can also be the foundation of a successfuldigital PR strategy.


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