Frank Strong, PR Director Vocus, Interview

                                                Frank Strong Interview

                                                Vocus, PR Director

                                                By Linda Silfies

On the very day that Vocus acquired HARO, and amid the user conference, and all of the ensuing excitement of the acquisition, Frank Strong, Vocus’ PR director, graciously and enthusiastically agreed to an interview.

Help A Reporter Out (HARO), Strong explained, is a free online service that links 30,000 reporters and bloggers together with more than 100,000 small businesses and public relations professionals.  HARO is free and available to everyone. Reporters and bloggers using the HARO platform can submit requests or queries, for sources for news stories they are writing.  With over 102,000 active available subscriber sources, HARO is able to provide answers to queries.  Additional information can be found at www.helpareporter.com.  Peter Shankman, founded HARO in 2007 as a FaceBook group, which quickly became a mailing list with 100,000 members. Shankman is a veteran PR practitioner, serial entrepreneur, author, and social media consultant for NASA, Disney and Snapple.

Vocus, Inc. is the leading provider of on-demand software for PR Management. Their web-based software helps organizations change the way they communicate with both the media and the public to optimize public relations and increase their ability to measure its impact.  Vocus is used by more than 6,800 organizations worldwide, and is available in seven languages.  For example, Vocus’ social media software would allow an organization to monitor Twitter in near-real time to discover what people are saying, track retweets and identify the originating tweet.  Mentions on YouTube, Flickr, Digg, Delicious and FaceBook can also be monitored and tracked.  Visit www.vocus.com for more information.

Given the option to discuss some of his achievements or the PR industry, Strong modestly chose the PR industry, for which he says he lives, eats and breathes. He was told by his father many years ago to do something that he really loves—he loves public relations. When asked to expound on what it is he loves about public relations he expressed his love of communication—the dialog, feedback, and conversation coupled with good writing skills and being able to put things into context—the overall skill and art of being able to use words effectively. As he spoke, I envisioned his love of words as a creative energy such as those of an artist with the stroke of his brush on a canvas—so effortless, yet so beautiful.

Strong is not only the PR director for Vocus, but also for PRWeb, the online news distribution service of Vocus. He champions PR programs, including media relations and social media efforts for the company in the US and the UK.

Strong has served in the military more than 17 years.  He currently serves as a reserve Army officer.

He holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State College, an MA in Public Communications from American University and an MBA from Marymount University. Some of his specialties include marketing communications, public relations, social media, corporate blogging and professional writing and editing.

His advice for newcomers in the PR field is:

  • Learn by doing—get involved.
  • Be a voracious reader; a jack of all trades; well versed and understand communication and how it impacts social media.
  • Most critical—develop excellent writing skills; develop it by doing it.
    • Blogging is a great place to start
    • RSS feed
    • Social media
    • Understand what it means to have ReTweets and how viral communication is.

 

Strong emphasized the most important thing to know about public relations is –relating to the public. It is not media relations, or content marketing, although they are part of it, but simply put, it is how you relate to the public.  What people say about you holds more credibility than what you say about yourself; a concept that can be applied in any venue or area of life.

In closing, Strong suggested keeping an eye on the larger picture. Learn all you can about Multi- media usage, content marketing, and Web oriented communication. Public relations is undergoing tremendous change, keep abreast of the advancements and grow with it.

Thank you Frank, for your time, and wealth of information.

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