The evolution of the new media release

This item was filled under [ ]

Once again, Todd Defren and the team at SHIFT Communications have released an incredibly useful template for communication professionals seeking to embrace social media and make their online news presence more contemporary. They call it the Social Media Newsroom Template. We have been working on similar initiatives, but the SHIFT team manages to nail the simplicity and logic behind new communication concepts.

Here are some of the things I love about this concept.

  • Tag Cloud: The ability to search the news by tags adds another layer of accessibility. It also allows a visitor to instantly see the most popular keywords an organization uses to describe its own news and media coverage of its activity.
  • Multimedia Gallery: Audio, video and other types of visual content create incredible opportunities for communication professionals to package stories, spokespeople and testimonials in exciting ways that have new legs online.
  • Executive Corner: I love the integration of LinkedIn profiles. There could be some drawbacks but I think it will force professionals to take greater control over their networks.
  • Contact: Being able to indicate the status (i.e. online, on the phone, away) of a PR contact is very smart. Visitors, especially those on deadline, want to know that someone is instantly available to respond to a request. It may not mean an official spokesperson is immediately available, the potential interviewer knows that they can get the process underway right now.

There are a few things that I think would further enhance the concept.

  • Topics: Similar to blog categories, most organizations can bundle their news by business unit, brand, product, service or news type (e.g. financial, people, etc.). This would reinforce the way the organization talks about itself.
  • Experts: Expanding the availability of “executives” to include subject matter experts is something I always like, especially if they’re already blogging or speaking at industry conferences. The authenticity and genuine nature of experts comes through well online.
  • Analysts: Those that monitor an industry or organization who can offer greater context are welcome sources for many journalists. The ability to create an access point (with permission) to analysts and others beyond the organization who can contribute insight offers great value.
  • Quotes: Picking up on the “analysts” theme, consider packaging quotes from third-party commentators and having them tagged and readily accessible in multiple media formats. This would probably be part of the tag cloud since many quotes would be specific to an individual release.

The one item I question with the template as produced by SHIFT is the prominence of “Media Coverage” which is top and center. Media links often go dead, or require subscriber access, unless an organization purchases a Web reprint (which is always recommended to respect copyright). I am not sure what the intent is behind the term “Media” in this instance, but I think this feature is better served by expanding it from just mainstream media to incorporate prominent blog coverage. Maybe “Media” is all encompassing.

Anyway, these are exciting times for communication. There are so many great ideas out there.

[tags]social media newsroom, new media release, social media release, social media press release, public relations, media relations[/tags]

Describing why PR needs to embrace the online world

This item was filled under [ ]

The world of PR is in transition. Many communication professionals realize that the way people get their information is changing. Others resist this fact, dismissing change as a fad. The skeptics ignore the influence of blogs and the power of social networks. Those that “get it” can’t seem to create enough opportunities. Organizations willing to take the risk and embrace new media, digital communications and social media are far and few between. Those that are making the transition are reaping the benefits.

Our youth marketing team in New York has been working with members of our Ernst & Young account team to create some exceptional solutions to recruit top talent graduating from the best business schools. This innovation landed our client in the Wall Street Journal with an article called “Ernst & Young Reaches Out to Recruits on Facebook“.

It always takes some doing to get clients to understand and accept new thinking like this, but the rewards are worth it. I have worked on teams in the past that have won international awards and received both online and mainstream exposure for simply being innovative and strategic. Being strategic doesn’t always require a complex solution as we’ve seen with our work in Canada with ALTANA Pharma.

The first step to success in digital communications and new media is being able to describe why it makes sense. This is one of the most difficult things to do since so many people start blocking concepts as soon as technology enters the equation. In the end, technology has very little to do with the rationale. It’s simply the enabler.

Technology enables access to the new audience. It enables new modes of publishing and inspires new ways to package information in convenient ways.

Most Internet use and media trend statistics illustrate why PR needs to embrace the online world. So if you’re preaching, figure out how to talk about it in a poignant and meaningful manner. As my friends in the Social Media Club say, “If you get it, share it.”