Last week, I attended a webinar by Sally Falkow, APR, and Rebecca Lieb, on how Internet technology and social networking affects news media and as a result, the public relations and media relations practitioner.
For those of you who attended last year’s PRSA International conference and heard Arianna Huffington open the keynote address with, “The press release is dead…” or those who read Tom Forenski’s rant a few years ago, “Die! Press Release! Die! Die! Die!,” may be surprised to learn the press release, like traditional media, is NOT dead. Falkow told us the news has changed, but journalists still want information. The way that journalists work is evolving so we need to provide this information in different ways.
Lieb quoted some statistics on how journalists work today:
- 91 percent of journalists search Google to do their job (“expert” is a common search term)
- 89 percent use blogs
- 64 percent are using social networks
In addition, Lieb went on to say that over 75 percent of reporters view blogs as helpful in providing story ideas, story angles and insight into the tone of an issue. And, almost half of reporters say they are “lurkers” on social networking sites.
So, what do journalists really want and need from PR?
- They want the news in easy-to-identify, digestible sections.
- They are looking for images, quotes, video, backgrounders, fact sheets.
- Tag the information so it’s easily found.
- Give them the full embed code for multimedia.
- Put your news in a feed.
- Make it available on social sites.
- Aggregate your news/social content in one place.
She says, “Deconstruct the press release into special sections and tag the information. By using news tags, a newspaper or news site could pull together larger numbers of news stories and the PR industry would be helping news publishers to gather the facts and present them in a near-publishable format.”
Bottom line: if you aren’t telling your story, then someone’s telling it for you. If the media can’t find the information they need from you, they will find it elsewhere – and you may not like what they find!
The media in general is expected to provide more than just a print story, or just a video clip – it’s also on the web. What is your organization doing to feed the media’s hunger for content?
Want more tips and best practices for working with the media and giving journalists what they want and need? Visit the BurrellesLuce Resource Center which provides FREE white papers, tip sheets, and more. And be sure to sign-up for this month’s newsletter, “When Press Releases Go Bad” or view an archive of last month’s newsletter, “Staying Ahead of the Media Relations Curve.”