In the world of media relations, an increasing number of journalists are using online services to research stories and articles, and this is particularly evident in the technology sector.
Online PR means challenges for companies, but also opportunities. The internet delivers global information at an increased rate. For example, as soon as a product is launched in the US, the information is posted on the company Website and the launch becomes international.
Press relations online can begin with an activity as simple as emailing press releases to the media. However, the key to success is understanding the media, the requirements of individuals and working in a way that works for them. It would be as pointless to send a journalist irrelevant information as email a press release to a writer who only receives material by post.
Again, recognising the different needs of the media, many companies are establishing online press rooms. Sometimes password protected, these are areas of company Websites designed to provide the latest announcements specifically for the press. The key is to ensure the information is accurate and up-to-date.
Getting back to basics
As an increasing number of publications create their own online presence, there are opportunities to use traditional PR activities to obtain coverage.
Many publishers simply produce online duplications of their paper-based titles. Others use the same names but tailor the content to appeal to the online user, and there are those publications which are online only.
Whichever they are, they will have an editor, staff writers and probably freelance writers too. They can be targeted in the same way as the traditional media but, once again, intelligence is the key. Know the publication, its deadlines, its focus and its writers.
Companies that get good results through PR follow many of the guidelines in this article. They also put forward representatives who are opinionated on key industry issues - for example year 2000 - and are creative with opportunities.
This can encompass anything from writing opinion pieces to creating initiatives.
The point being they are active with PR opportunities, not passive, and they don't depend on press releases as a key tactic.
So, you have probably guessed that public relations is not exactly rocket science, but if handled badly, it can be detrimental. The most important thing is to plan your PR activity as an integral part of your business.
Know what you can realistically achieve and put together a flexible PR plan.
Finally, public relations should be an enjoyable activity. If you enjoy your contact with the media, the chances are that they will too.
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