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Providing Value with Online PR

Part four — Please see part three as well

Coming from a news background myself, I know that many journalists hold a somewhat cynical view of PR professionals, who often appear to be trying to pass unimportant material off as “news.”  If your goal is to get your organization’s name in print, then you need to stay focused on the information that is of value to your target outlets’ audience members. Period. The delivery vehicle in PR generally might be any one of a number of initiatives, such as a:

  • communication campaign
  • press conference
  • press release (print or video)
  • feature article
  • media-related interview for company spokespeople
  • speech for a company leader to deliver at a meeting or event
  • website or some social media content
  • live or virtual event

A Word about Relationships and Online PR

Relationships are key to good PR and after someone has been working successfully in the field for a while they tend to develop some good positive relationships with the people whose attention they seek on behalf of their client or employer. That comes down to reputation: if you are consistently focused on providing value to an outlet’s audiences, and you don’t stray into the danger zone of trying to pass company fluff off as news, then you will be rewarded by a willingness to publish the information you provide. Remember in a previous blog when we talked about the importance of knowing your audience? That’s still very relevant for online PR, only in this case you want to know about your audience and what’s important to them. That will help you determine how you present your message.

Get a reputation for trying to get free ink for irrelevant material, and you will be consistently written off as a time-waster.

What about Social Media and Public Relations?

It took a while for PR practitioners to glom on to the opportunities presented by social media. Fifteen years ago, social media was an emerging concept and change is often hard to implement in established fields run by older people. Let’s face it, in the early years of this century, most of the senior jobs in PR would have been held by people in their 40’s who were no more interested in tweeting than flying to the moon. Facebook? Kidstuff! Link In? Why? No, thank you, social media was not a serious way to garner positive attention for one’s clients and stakeholders. And, to be fair, in the beginning, it wasn’t. In another 10 years people might marvel that there was ever a time when businesses ignored social media (or its replacement concept) altogether. That might even be seen as a quaint, somewhat old fashioned time in our world’s history. Remember paper calendars? Or telephones with cords?

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