21 March 2014

By Ken Payne

No rocket science here. McCarthy described a product as simply the tangible, physical entity that you may be buying or selling, or the service you may be providing. Buy an iPhone, that's the product. Have your nails done, that’s the service. Simple! Or is it? What product does the public relations profession manufacture? What service does it provide direct to the customer? How is the product produced? Is the product what customers want or need? What about functionality, styling, quality, safety, packaging, accessories and warranty?

The “product” of public relations work is content; words, pictures, video, and audio. And PR produces a lot of it. Some estimate that upwards of 60% of all the news published or broadcast daily originated from the public relations industry.

But as mentioned above, PR content is not finding purchase in traditional media outlets as in days of old maybe 5 years ago.

“It used to be we only interacted with journalists at traditional publications,” notes Erica Coleman, Senior Public Relations Manager for McAfee Security. “Now there are citizen journalists that our customers are communicating with every day. Plus we’re talking directly with potential customers or investors through our online newsroom. It’s expanded the PR person’s role beyond a simple focus on media to really communicating with all audiences.

Amy Kemp, Senior Communications Manager for Vail Resorts, Inc., looks for “interesting ways Vail can interact and engage with not just the media but other stakeholders.”

“The online newsroom allows us to do that,” Amy said. “We’re providing the traditional press release in conjunction with a related story on our blog and a quick headline on Twitter. Plus, the Twitter feed links back to our online newsroom.”

Relevant content. All audiences. Both key ingredients of the PR mix. Messages must now be target not only at the daily newspaper, but the daily blog, or the daily Tweet. Daunting? Here are a few tips to get you thinking about the product of public relations:

TIPS

  • Remain true to your brand in your online newsroom by providing relevant content, timely updates, accessibility, and unwavering customer service.

  • Transparency is important not only to social media, but to your online newsroom as well. Don’t “plant” nice comments to your press releases or “swag” every blogger who writes about your industry. Keep it genuine.

  • Authenticity is key to successful social media integration. Be careful of “ghost writing” your media blog, Facebook fan page, or corporate Tweets. The media pick up on this tactic quickly.

  • Think of your online newsroom as a way to communicate with the media, not at the media. And don’t forget...customers, clients, and potential investors are overhearing your conversation.

  • Consider attaching a news blog to you online newsroom to provide industry insight by expert employees, monitor opinions and address rumors that relate to your company and its products.
  • Be passionate about what you do and who you work for and let is show in your online newsroom. Let the media see you as a person, not a mouthpiece.
  • Don’t be afraid to say you were wrong when it comes to posting content to your online newsroom. Make the necessary changes and move on. The media will respect and appreciate your authenticity and transparency. 

Contact(s)

Content. Convenience. Collaboration. Cost. It’s a new vocabulary for public relations, and a new way of thinking about marketing your message. At TEKGROUP we know about the 4 Cs of connecting you to your publics via an online newsroom. It’s the only thing we do. For free, no hassle demonstration of our online newsroom software, contact us today at marketing@tekgroup.com, or give us a call at 734-945-7790. 

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