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Understanding The Rules of Online Media

Here’s the long and short of it: there are no rules with online media. Sure, take a moment to digest that because it goes against just about everything we’re typically conditioned to think.  We’re used to “best practices” and guidelines.  Think about it in terms of traditional media where there are a wide variety of rules & guidelines.  For instance, typically newspaper articles are a few hundred words in length; for television outlets the news department always tries to find a local angle on a story; while in the land of radio stories are usually told these days by a reporter, often syndicated, that at best feature a quick sound bite.  And accordingly, with each of these different arenas there are certain rules of the game if you will for for gaining traction for your particular story; however in the online space we have a blank platform through which to tell our stories. This platform extends beyond the simple press release or website, but today expands into the mobile space and allows any organization to create rich media that is on-message and helps to tell its story.  This is vastly powerful space – organizations can now share video of their events, conversations with executives, and insights from their latest research with global audiences with ease.  A pretty powerful development that has come of age in the last few years, but as organization’s go to implement these types of tools they are often faced with questions in regard to the “right” way to do things…which is where we enter new & uncharted territory. That said, the online space brings with...

The Shift: From Pitching to Producing

The PR business is changing from an industry that once relied on traditional content producers, into a field that is leveraging new tools and crafting unique audio and video content itself. Prior to the internet boom, if you had a story you wanted to tell you had a variety of options from local & network television, to radio, newspapers, and a wide variety of periodicals.  So, your best bet was to craft a news release and start pitching to the respective outlets that you were targeting.  Along the way you would find a number of different reactions from the standard “We’ll get back to you…” to the “That’s not something we would be interested in,” or “Send me more information.”  Ultimately, if your story was accepted by an editor or a reporter, the final message was in their hands.  You could only provide them with the information and coordinate an interview – from there it was up to them what would make the final cut. While those were the rules of the game, for professionals who pride ourselves on helping our clients to tell their stories that created a pretty vulnerable and uncontrolled situation.  Now, before I go on, of course I recognize that that type of situation still exists and that there are many talented individuals that still pitch and provide great results for their clients.  However, with the advancement of the internet, the ubiquity of an internet connection from the PC to the cell phone and new gadgets such as the iPod and the iPad, a new channel to reach audiences has emerged. It is this new...

The iPadization of Content is Upon Us

Both leading up to, and of course, after Apple’s January 27th iPad announcement the interwebs were, and have been, a buzz about the tablet device that will now debut in less than a week.  It’s certainly been an interesting development to observe, and follow, as the implications could potentially run far and wide – both for the computing industry, as well as those in the content creation business. Personally, I think the iPad taps into the power of the iPhone platform but serves it up in an even more tangible size and for that matter a size that will likely in time become more palatable to a wider breath of audiences.  The iPad unlike the iPhone will have no expensive cellular contract or service usage agreements, it will simply work on any WiFi connection, or those users that wish can opt in to a month-to-month data service with AT&T.  In terms of the interaction, since the web’s introduction it has been a point & click type of world, but the iPad will change that it, and it will morph into a hands-on environment.  We’ll be able to look past the device and become fully consumed with our music, movies, and of course text-based content – or more poignantly those delineations are going to continue to become harder to make.  We’ll see magazines with embeded Podcasts, and electronic books that offer videos about their subject matter, and newspapers that will strike us more as the local television channel than the traditional paper. In the process, this iPad-ization of content is going to further drive consumption, alter the media landscape, and...

The Shift: Syndication It’s Not a Dirty Word

Tear down those walls. In today’s social media infused PR & Marketing environment it’s no longer to your benefit to only publish content to your campaign website. No, in fact in today’s iPhone wielding, Twitter, & Facebook obsessed world it’s to your advantage to Syndicate your content to as many platforms as possible. Such a concept of sharing content used to be a dirty thought, as you wanted to control your content and simply drive audiences directly to your website. However, while that is still true today, the strategy for obtaining and reaching consumers of your content has shifted; and the focus is now on spreading your message as widely as possible and having the audience further disseminate your content and propel new eyeballs in your direction. As audiences become more and more fragmented it is increasingly important to share your content and extend its reach in order to help meet the increased diversity with which content is consumed. Sharing your content and syndicating it benefits your campaign in a number of innovative ways: By increasing the availability of the content, creating more pipes that lead back to your website & allowing you to reach broader audiences. Engaged audiences take ownership and will proactively share your news, and spread the message on their own to their own friends and contacts. Allows target audiences to opt-in and manage both when & where they interact with your information. Beyond these aspects, there are other advantages, not the least of which is having the opportunity to syndicate any type of content from the latest news release, to a Podcast interview with your...

How Tablets Will Help Communicators

Amidst the latest news of impending tablet like devices, including Apple’s newest creation, lies a new and important path for communications campaigns and the practitioners that coordinate these efforts. First, in terms of the technology, the day of the E-Reader is upon us. Both the Amazon Kindle & the Barnes and Noble Nook experienced extremely successful holiday sales to wrap up 2009. While 2010 is staring off with numerous competitors announcing their own E-Reader efforts at the annual Consumer Electronics show, and mounting speculation as to what Apple will unveil in this space later this week. The growth of this “reader” type of device in an arena already crowded by Notebooks, Netbooks, iPhones, & Blackberries is interesting; and yet it is an evolution of those devices. The e-reader, despite its name, I believe will extend beyond just electronic forms of books. This type of device, when done correctly will allow for easy consumption and navigation of content on a sizeable screen, in a format that is easier on the eyes (no backlight or optional backlight) and unites a variety of content types including audio, video, & text. Specifically, with the web’s maturation we are now observing two different types of internet audiences… the first being the desktop/laptop space in which you interact with the web, collaborate with colleagues and essentially get work done. For most of us, that categorizes the vast majority of our day…but the second audience is more concerned with consuming content that is available online from the comfort of their family room, or along their commute. We saw the early evidence of this type of behavior...

The Key To Moving Beyond the Recession

Over the past year, as a Nation we have witnessed a financial meltdown, which has been unlike any other series of events that many of us have lived through. Millions have lost jobs, and confidence in the market has eroded. Certainly, it is normal for the market to have fluctuations and for corrections to take place from time to time, but the last year was beyond what anyone including the “experts” had envisioned. The repercussions from these recent events run deep and have impacted millions; leaving many wondering what tomorrow will bring. As organizations look to the future and to moving forward beyond the financial crisis, and as markets strengthen and projects move forward, perhaps the most important component to the recovery is Communications. I do not write that flippantly, nor because it is the arena in which you or I practice. Instead, in order to get our Nation back to work, and to ease everyone’s concerns we must leverage the opportunities before us in today’s new media landscape to openly and honestly communicate and share the direction that our organizations and clients envision. Whether that means sharing notes and information via today’s social media tools such as Twitter, or Facebook, or doing a periodic Podcast interview with members of the C-Suite, or doing a media tour to promote events and campaigns. Utilizing these tools affords us the opportunity to share where our organizations (and our client’s) are heading with both internal and external audiences. Further, sharing our message will help to ease people’s fears, and instill confidence in the greater business environment and to our customers. While the...