PRSA Maryland Chapter Blog Experiment

PRSA Maryland launched their blog More Than PR Basics! It isn’t their first foray into social media; they have a LinkedIn Group, Facebook Page and Twitter handle. It is however a big step for a small chapter. And it is an experiment.

They are following the strategy that KiKi L’Italien and I outlined in our session on Adding Power to Member Communities at ASAE’s August meeting. Specifically, they determined a measurable, critical focused goal for a social media effort: drive attendance to and interest in their annual conference (step 1).

The decision to launch the blog was driven in part by the need to have an exciting web presence for the conference. The theme of the conference is Back to PR Basics with a Twist: Evolving Your Relationships for the Future. The idea is so help PR professionals (that’s step 2 – identifying the audience) understand the new media and show how to add the new media tools — along with the traditional tools — into their PR strategy. If you’re going to talk about social media, then you really ought to be using it. Hence, the blog which is the conference’s home site.

To get started, they tallied their resources (step 3). They started with a board member Laura LaChappelle who is a blogger and their administrator (me!) for could honcho the development of the blog platform. Then they reached out to speakers for help in creating content and in spreading the word. They hosted a social media brainstorming call with speakers, then followed up with an email request for content, Twitter follows and help in promoting the blog.

Another resource was outside their chapter. They borrowed a page from Buzz2009‘s playbook (thanks to Maddie Grant and Lindy Dreyer of SocialFish), and created a blog focused on the conference that includes pages on sessions, speakers etal.

The experiment is set to conclude following the conference October 6. I’ll report back – but the meanwhile, this is a great example of how a chapter can test the waters. How are your chapters testing the waters?