Same Game, With a Few New Rules
Category: Blog - August 06, 2009
In the current PRSA newsletter, former Beehive colleague Katharine Mudra published a great article about the evolution of the newsroom. Her point that PR professionals must be nimble and creative to meet newsroom needs is well taken - the news community is ever faster, more resourceful and publishing in more channels every day.
But as every great PR person knows, there is a fine line between meeting the needs of the media and meeting the needs of your clients. So, navigating the evolving newsroom is only part of the game. Here are three perceptions we can change to help clients minimize fear of the new news climate and demonstrate the value of the changing coverage mix:
Perception: If we aren't talking about it, nobody will cover it.
Reality: The days of "command and control" communication are long gone. A news tip is only a click away, so the chances are pretty good that SOMEBODY's talking, even if you aren't.
However, this is not always a bad thing. By monitoring both traditional and digital media (using either paid tools like Cision, Radian 6 and Nielsen's Buzz Logic or free tools like Twilert, Google News and Technorati), you can keep an eye on what's being said about your business or brand, as well as your competitors and any trends or issues that might be of interest. In this case, listening to the conversation can inform your communication strategies - when, where and how to participate to tell your best story and reach your most important audiences.
Perception: If we aren't in the newspaper or on mainstream TV nobody gets our news. (Or, if we aren't on Twitter we'll never reach anybody.)
Reality: We are seeing a shift in the media mix, due to the economy, new tools and the changing needs of consumers. The honest truth is that there is great value in both traditional and digital media coverage. Abandoning one for the other is rarely the right choice. Looking at your audience, your goals and how you will measure success should inform your communication strategy and give you a foundation to demonstrate how PR, marketing, sponsorships and advertising are working together to meet business goals.
Perception: You can't measure PR, especially not social media.
Reality: Yes, you can and should be measuring PR and social media. If you are clear at the outset about what you want to achieve you should be able to measure both the effort (how many placements, where, were key messages delivered, was branding included, what was the ad value, etc.) and the result (was there a sales spike, were there more visits to the Web site, what percentage of promotions were redeemed). The key is to set goals and establish measurement criteria early and integrate agency and corporate resources to arrive at the big picture.
The bottom line is that even though the newsroom and the media mix are changing, there is still a powerful opportunity to tell your story, when and where it matters most.