By Ken Payne
E. Jarome McCarthy conceptualized place as distribution – how might a company get its products to the consumer? Questions to consider included distribution channels, inventory management, warehousing, order processing, and transportation.
So, if we’re agreed that the product PR produces is content, the question becomes, “how do we get our content to the customer, the media, the analyst, the stakeholder, the shareholder?” Obviously, the traditional channel was through traditional media: 1) write press release; 2) send press release to media list; 3) pray for editorial benevolence. But today, with all the changes in the media landscape mentioned above, editorial benevolence seems a fool’s prayer.
“We were finding the media does not have the ability anymore to cover us in the kind of robust and in-depth way we believe our company should be covered,” according to Bob DeFillippo, Chief Communications Officer for Prudential Financial Inc. and newspaper reporter for more than a decade. “It’s an unfortunate trend, at least from my perspective, what’s going on in the news media itself – the lack of resources, the job losses, the cutting back.”
“It began to occur to us that we were reaching a lot of people directly, not through the media,” Bob continued. “So as a result we thought we could do better job going directly to our stakeholders – and that was the impetus for the online newsroom.”
Bob and his staff discovered what many in the corporate communications field have predicted for some time. “While our newsroom is set up to reach the media, it’s also our corporate online newspaper for our various constituencies,” Bob said. “We’re writing and distributing it in such a way we expect people other than the media to come in and learn about the company. So [our content] is written that way. That’s why our newsroom has a featured lead story with content set up in departments – much like you would find in an online newspaper.”
“We are a very diverse and broad company so the online newsroom allows us to serve both our internal and external stakeholders on a single shared platform,” Amy agreed. “The media and our key stakeholders can gather all their content in one spot, whether they are looking about information about our company, or they are looking for information about a specific brand, they can find that too.”
Focus on how easy it is for ALL your customers to find, interact, download, and share your content. Then, position and distribute your content in familiar, uncomplicated ways. Keep it simple, and keep them coming back for more. Here are a few TIPS to help you with your content distribution decisions:
You are now in the publishing business. Make sure that you post your news to your online newsroom as soon as it becomes available so that you are the one breaking your news story instead of somebody else.
Engage all your internal stakeholders in the content development and distribution plan for your online newsroom – including legal, human resources, sales and marketing. It’s important they understand and share your vision for the site.
Allow journalists to request specific types of news they want to receive from you. This not only reduces the clutter in their in-boxes, but allows your e-mail alert to be recognized as news of interest to them and their beats.
The younger members of your PR team can certainly provide the technology know- how, but messaging, positioning, and timing remain a strategic concern. Expect to be involved in your online newsroom.
Train everyone on your staff on the basics of online newsroom management, content publishing, and crisis-site deployment. During crunch time, everyone must be a contributor.
Your followers – media, customers, investors, and constituents – expect frequent content updates. Two weeks between postings is too long.
Public relations campaigns typically have a short life. An online newsroom is a commitment to engage and communicate with the media, consumers, clients, and potential investors over the long haul.
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 a free, no hassle demonstration of our online newsroom software, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call at 734-945-7790.