6 Ways to Engage Discussion in Your Community: PR Tips from Kurt Greenbaum of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

I recently attended an informative luncheon sponsored by the Community Service Public Relations Council (CSPRC). It was a roundtable format with a myriad of topics; I was able to sit in on two topics, website Redesign and public relations tips from the Post-Dispatch.

Although I have a lot to say on website redesign, I’ll save that topic for a later post. Instead, I’d like to share the useful tips shared by Kurt Greenbaum, director of social media at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He writes a blog for the Post’s, Virtual St. Louis. Although Kurt’s tips were specific to St. Louis, I am going broaden them out so they’ll be useful anywhere.

Thanks again to Kurt for these great tips!

1. Use the news submission tools on your local papers’ websites. Many papers, like the Post, enable press releases to be posted or submitted on their website. The Post-Dispatch has a nifty feature, PR Zone, on its site, stltoday.com.

2. Read blogs. You can engage in your community by searching blogs or checking out those being offered by local media. Post comments, answer questions…The Post also is offering blogs now at their Blogzone.

3. Watch forums. Forums are usually more utilitarian, set up in a Q & A format. Again, you’ll be shocked to find out how much discussion is going on. What is being said about topics of interest to your organization? Anyway you can participate? Again, the Post-Dispatch (and many other metros are offering forums).

4. Use Google Blog Search. You can set up an alert that emails you every time someone mentions you or your organization in a blog or forum. You can create an RSS feed of those searches or get email alerts. Check it out at blogsearch.google.com.

5. Use Summize to set up specialized Twitter searches. Like Google, you can watch specific topics, set up an RSS feed to be alerted when anyone talks about your topic. Kurt shared that he uses Twitter feeds to stay on top of breaking news for his newspaper.

6. Use Google Reader. Set up your RSS feeds for a variety of websites that you want to watch. You can search the feeds you subscribe to in Reader. It’s a great way to monitor hundreds of websites quickly and easily. Check it out at reader.google.com.


Sonia is the marketing strategist & word geek for NeuConcept.