Posts Tagged ‘web’


PR Tips for Dealing With Digital Journalism from Community Service Public Relations Council

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Flickr Image: atriumIn St. Louis, three web managers/editors from local TV, radio and print media outlets discussed how to create web- and social-friendly content. At this Community Service Public Relations Council (CSPRC) luncheon, the media panelists explained what kind of information they sought for their websites, how they integrated social media, and how nonprofits (and others) could best work with them.

The panelists were:

  • Kelsey Proud, web producer, St. Louis Public Radio, 90.7 KWMU, University of Missouri St. Louis
  • Jill Hampton, web producer, My Neighborhood St. Louis, Fox2now.com, KPLR11.com, STLMoms.com
  • Greg Jonsson, breaking news editor at StLToday.com / the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

After a brief introduction, the panelists talked about how journalism has changed in this digital world, and how public relations professionals could help make their jobs easier.

In the early digital days, there was insistence (in broadcast media) that they must break the news on-air first. That notion is gone. Today, breaking news happens online, followed by a more in-depth vetted story on-air. 

The biggest change of all is that content is now shared across the various platforms. Radio is no longer just audio, TV is no longer just video and, of course, newspapers / magazines are no longer just print.  I like the line one TV station GM used a while back about no longer being a TV station “but rather we are a local news organization that is platform agnostic.”

Some of the panelists’ tips that I found noteworthy for PR pros:

  • Everything needs to be interactive to get the best user experience.
  • Every journalist is now a ‘one-man-band.” For example, radio reporters are learning how to utilize images and/or video to get better exposure.
  • Press releases are still the number one way to share a story with them. Kelsey says, “No matter how much we complain, we ARE grateful for press releases.”
  • Even though they just stated that content is cross-platform shared, a good TV story still needs to be very visual.  Even for radio, online is visual so include image(s).
  • Your press release should point to the organization’s online newsroom for background information and additional details. NOTE:  Keep the online newsroom up-to-date! Jill said her pet peeve is “getting a release, going to the website only to find the last press release was posted over a year ago.”
  • Include links to organization, event, social media profiles, and images.
  • Do NOT include cute graphics, or attach Word documents or hi-res images.  Most won’t open them, and sometimes their email system strips them out so they’ll never see them anyway.  Instead, provide links to your online photo gallery—low res images are just fine for the web. 
  • Keep the information straight-forward. Greg says they have no time for “flowery language.”
  • Finally, yes, it’s okay to alert a journalist to a story via Twitter—just not incessantly.

While none of this advice is revolutionary, I believe it’s important to periodically hear it “from the horse’s mouth.”

PR pros, please share any feedback you’ve received from members of the media. Or, if you are a journalist, please share how your job has changed in the digital era, and what we, as PR pros, can do to make it easier.

Marketing through the Web: How Information is Power

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Kelly Mulholland*

Flickr Image: Jeffrey Beall

Flickr Image: Jeffrey Beall

There are three ways consumers use the web: they search, browse and buy. Most organizations increase their site’s traffic by adding searching tools and enhancing SEO. While this helps people answer their initial question of “what,” it doesn’t necessarily go the extra step and encourage them to browse or buy.

However, if positioned correctly, encouragement to go beyond just the initial search can be helpful to the consumer… at least when it comes to expanding their knowledge and possibly influencing their buying decisions. Today’s consumers, want a site to tell them something they didn’t think to search for or think they might want/need. In the process, they may be persuaded to take some action and possibly lead to a conversion or sale based on the resources you provide beyond the original search.   

Search Mode- Provide the consumer with what they know they want
When a prospective customer is searching a site they almost always have an overall notion of what they want, but perhaps not all the details or at least a vague idea of the need they want to fulfill. This is where websites that utilize the search toolbox plug-in (usually located at the top of a webpage) come into action. The client wants to be able to search their product and be given substantial results.

For instance, when I simply type in the search box “scarves” at ShopBop—a luxury clothing retail website and BurrellesLuce client—I get an overwhelming list of over 200 results. The search function on the site even makes my quest easier by providing suggestions of related searches much the way Google or Bing might.

Browse Mode- Provide detailed information
With a list generated, a prospective buyer shifts into browse mode. What’s important here is how much information is provided—the customer wants to know more about their prospective purchase in the most organized fashion possible, no pun intended. Generated reviews from other customers should be at complete view coupled with suggestions. This will help the consumer differentiate one product’s value from another. It is also most helpful to provide organizational tools for the client to be able to sift through all the search results.

Shopbop does a great job at this. First, I can see “More from Scarves /Wraps” and also descriptions about the designer and the item itself. I have the capability to see how other customers rated each scarf. I also have the option of organizing my products in “Wish Lists” and “My Likes/Hearts” giving me time to consider my purchases without fully committing myself to placing the product in “My Cart.” I can sort the scarves with drop-down options by designer, size, color, and price. These categorizations are an aid to a consumer who might be inundated with an overwhelming amount of data.

Buyer Mode- Be your customer’s personal researcher
Now that the customer has browsed all the data, they have finally chosen the best product for them. While they may be done researching, that doesn’t mean the work of the service provider should end there. In fact, it is now your job to take on a new role: personal researcher. As Tara Gessinger, states in this Online PR Media blog post on Online Public Relations: Building Personal Relationships with Customers in the Digital Age, you need to keep the online conversation with your clients going through email as you would in real life. For instance, provide future recommendations based on previous purchases to the client. After I browse ShopBop or make a purchase, I receive an e-mail weeks later suggesting clothing that I might like based on my past shopping experiences.

Sites using this type of search and browse capability are designed to work for people who research and take a period of time before making a committed decision. In today’s market, researched buyers are becoming the norm and the buying cycle is changing. The impulsive spendthrift is a dying species. Marketers need to be a step ahead of the curve. Web marketing should not be about gimmicks to get attention from a prospective buyer – today’s savvy consumers will see through this. Instead it is about understanding the keywords that buyers are using and then positioning campaigns to engage buyers to webpages full with the content they want (or never knew they wanted). 

How are you using search capabilities on your website to influence visitor action? What are some of your favorite search features provided by your favorite sites?

***

Bio: Before joining the Burrellesluce team in 2011, Kelly interned at CondeNast’s Glamour magazine as an editorial intern to the senior style writer and was an editor of her college newspaper. She received a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Business, Society and Culture from Drew University with honors. After graduation, she worked as a sales associate at Nordstrom and took a month off to travel abroad throughout Europe. In Kelly’s free time, she enjoys traveling, fashion, reading, bringing awareness to Breast Cancer, running 5Ks, baking and social media. Twitter:@miss_mulholland Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: Kelly Mulholland

In PR and the Media: August 22, 2011

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Local TV Newscasts Expanding (NYT)
Rebounding after nearly three years of decline, local news stations are slowly adding staff back into their newsroom mix. But will this expansion be enough to revive the television industry?

StumbleUpon Delivers Half of U.S. Social Media Traffic (ReadWriteWeb)
While Facebook may have reached this milestone back in April 2010, StumbleUpon is proving it is also a force to be reckoned with – continually providing more referrals than Twitter.

Initiative to Marketers: Wake Up, Optimize Brand Content Online (Media Post)
“40% of customers now say they will not buy a brand if they can’t find the right information about it online,” according to a new consumer survey by Initiative, the Interpublic Group media agency.

Most Android Apps Sit Idle, Top-50 Apps Make Up 61% of All Usage, Nielsen Finds (BGR)
The first report by Nielsen, using software that directly measures consumers’ behavior rather than relying on surveys, finds that Android users spend almost double the amount of time using apps than browsing the mobile web.

The Evolution of Search Will Refine the Spectrum of Quality in Media (Rossdawsonblog.com)
Despite the evolution of technology and search functionality, search engines are not getting any better as more and more erroneous content is being pulled to the top of results. This post highlights five ways search engines can decrease spam and improve the quality of content.

Marketing through Product Placement in Media/Entertainment Offers No Escape for Consumers

Friday, May 20th, 2011
Flickr Image: Laughing Squid

Flickr Image: Laughing Squid

Most of us escape to some form of entertainment as a way to relax from life’s stresses, whether it’s rocking to our favorite songs or losing ourselves in a movie. However, as we are listening or watching we are constantly being exposed to marketing and advertising in subtle and sometimes not so subtle doses, through clever product placement. It’s everywhere, in every form of media and entertainment. Brands are trying desperately to keep up with the newly empowered consumers of 2011. We are cutting our cable chords (canceling cable in favor of Internet access to content), DVR’ing shows to skip commercials, and having manhandled the music industry for the past decade – using peer-to-peer networks to illegally download songs.

The music industry has a few things up their sleeves to make some extra dough. In the last decade, they’ve began experimenting with the idea of product placement in lyrics to the tune of $30 million. We all remember the Busta Rhymes and P Diddys jingle, err song, called “Pass The Courvoisier,” released after Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Records cut a deal with the cognac’s marketer to reposition the brand in the hip hop community.

The movie industry has been using product placement since silent films. Last month Warrior Poets, Morgan Spurlock’s production company, and incidentally a BurrellesLuce client (an obvious plug) released a movie on this very subject, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.” Spurlock’s latest work is a documentary that takes a comical view while exploring the world of product placement, marketing and advertising. Incidentally the film was fully financed through product placement from various brands, all of which are integrated transparently into the film.

In my view, the product integration model seems to be marketers only recourse. After all what choice did we, the consumer, leave them – especially with the younger generation turning increasingly to the web for their content and worldwide device?  Gartner Group announced earlier this week that worldwide communication device sales totaled 427.8 million units in the first quarter, an increase of 19 percent from first quarter 2010, with smart phones accounting for 23 percent, an 85 percent increase year-on- year.

 I don’t mind a product placement or two in my content, after all products and brands are a big part of our everyday lives. But I have one request for the marketers and advertisers, and let’s call it “for the sake of preserving escapism through entertainment,” can you please keep your placements subtle to the viewer? At least in the movie Castaway, although the FedEx brand was overly exploited, it was brilliantly woven into the plot, which I found to be less invasive and manipulative. Now I’m not saying that I’ve used FedEx more as a result of watching the Castaway, forget it….. come to think of it I actually have.

Have you been sold on product placement in films and music? How are you using these placements in your own marketing, advertising, and communications activities? Please share your thoughts we me and readers Fresh Ideas.

Missouri State University PRSSA Day: Media Myths

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

mascom_PRSSA_smallLast week, I was honored to be a part of Missouri State University’s PRSSA Day as a speaker on social media misconceptions. One of the myths that we discussed was “Social media will soon replace traditional media as the most viable source of news,” and I wanted to elaborate on that point. 

At least once every week, or so it seems, someone comes out with a “Traditional media is dead” article or warns that “We shouldn’t waste time on traditional media and advertising.” As a matter of fact, I read an article several months ago about a survey on the subject by PR/PA agency mergers and acquisition consultants, StevensGouldPincus. SGP managing partner, Art Stevens was quoted as saying, “If this trend persists within the next two years social media will replace traditional media as PR/PA’s primary tool for reaching client audiences with news and information. When you consider that traditional media have been the bedrock of professional PR/PA practice for more than 100 years, the implications are profound.”

I’ll concede that the preferred vehicle for news distribution is definitely shifting to digital, real-time and even mobile platforms and I’ll agree that the implications are profound to communicators and consumers alike; however, the source of most of that content remains the same: The percentage of original content found on social media pales in comparison to traditional media. In reality, most news content is first published in the print or web editions of major news outlets, and then syndicated or picked up on social media networks and blogs, confirms this BurrellesLuce newsletter on “Social Media Myths and Misconceptions“.

In fact, according to a Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism study last year, “Blogs still heavily rely on the traditional press — and primarily just a few outlets within that — for their information. More than 99 percent of the stories linked to in blogs came from legacy outlets such as newspapers and broadcast networks. And just four — the BBC, CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post accounted for fully 80 percent of all links.”

So, let’s face it, without traditional media, in whatever form, there would be very little news to fuel social media. Will that change in the future? Perhaps. But as of today, traditional media is NOT dead.

Even if it is, perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing after all… Because as Seth Godin recently wrote in a post entitled, Bring Me Something Dead: “Dead means that they are no longer interesting to the drive-by technorati. Dead means that the curiosity factor has been satisfied, that people have gotten the joke… Only when an innovation is dead can the real work begin. That’s when people who are seeking leverage get to work, when we can focus on what we’re saying, not how (or where) we’re saying it…”

What do you think the future holds?