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Web-centric communications

26 May

Jim Horton has written a white paper (in pdf format) arguing for a web-centred approach to communications. His theme: ‘The web is the only unified distribution point for all corporate messages’. There’s a useful distinction between product-centric sites that are the domain of marketers (with corporate communications taking a back seat); and company-centric sites which are the domain of corporate communications.

I don’t think it’s a weakness that blogging isn’t mentioned; but I do think that content management should be addressed as this is more of a bottleneck in practice than design, programming or copywriting. (Consider how quickly we’ve forgotten the content management headaches of maintaining even small personal websites now that the problem’s been solved by our weblogging programs. Now imagine the content management challenge for a large corporate site that is the unified distribution point for all corporate messages.)

In praise of press releases

7 Apr

The humble news release may be unfashionable, but there are more reasons to persist with them than media relations alone.

My colleague David Phillips has found that the news release (a time-critical, text-based document) can give a temporary boost to search engine rankings. He found that his news release about a new report rose more quickly up the Google search rankings than the report itself.

New communications

14 Feb

Elizabeth Albrycht has kicked-off a week of discussion on the IAOC blog with Towards a New Communications Model.

I’ll be following up tomorrow by looking at media relations in the online world.

New PR’s boost to old PR

17 Jul

Having had a few more minutes to absorb the contributions to Global PR Blog Week 1.0, here are my first thoughts.

It works. The old PR lesson that energy, ideas and focus on an event can generate attention has been vindicated: from nowhwere, the site was registering impressive traffic statistics and comments.

Many came to criticise. PR must be a bad idea, and where are the women? But most stayed to admire (PR people are thoughtful – what a shock!).

Contributors were not just from the US, and not just writing in the English language. (Europeans and above all Australians have the advantage of posting first).

Collective efforts are greater than individual ones. Does this mean that we should abandon our separate blogs, or persist with a group blog?

Blogging, which already works by a form of peer review (links, comments, PageRank), has the potential to take its place alongside academic publishing in value and credibility.

Glancing back to move forward

12 Jul

At the start of Global PR Blog Week 1.0 and at the point when there’s a critical mass developing around public relations blogging, I’m keen to step back and thank two pioneers who got here first and who have, it seems to me, done most to foster this growing network.

Continue reading

Help for online PR

13 Oct

Tom Murphy is, as so often, a move ahead of this site’s editor. PR Opinions today has a useful update to the discussion of online press offices, with links to new sources.

Elizabeth Albrycht adds that ‘PR people exist to be FOUND’.

Postscript on PDFs

27 Sep

Tom Murphy spells it out in plain text.

Cut your fancy fonts and your clever formatting. Plain HTML is best. Avoid Word files, and never, ever send file attachments (unless invited to do so).

Pointless PDFs

26 Sep

An addition to the debate about online press offices comes from The birth of POP! Public Relations. It’s the case against having press materials in PDF format.

PDFs are fine for long and complex documents. Say, statistical or graphical releases. But for standard text documents, they just raise another barrier. A press release is not a finished work of literature, it’s a means to an end. We want to enable journalists to cut and paste our copy, remember.

Portable document format? Printable document format? I can never even remember what PDF stands for

More on Microsoft

26 Sep

Ben Silverman agrees that Microsoft’s online press office is an impressive resource. But he adds the caveat that a reporter will still need to talk to a human being, and this is where – in his experience – Microsoft’s PR falls down.

I remember the point when, a decade ago, Microsoft realised that it could command the attention of national TV news in the UK. This is the point at which the company started to ignore its traditional followers in the computer press. It’s a tough balancing act when you’ve reached the top…

Best of breed

25 Sep

Apple does it brilliantly; Amazon is much less amazing. It’s a question of their online press offices, and the assessment is by Ben Silverman of PR Fuel.

I’ll be asking some students to track an online press office of their choice over the coming months. I hope to report back on the best and worst.

I’ll be surprised if any surpass Microsoft’s Press Pass area, in which the company demonstrates that it understands that news amounts to more than its own press releases.

Yet I endorse Tom Murphy’s opinions on the strength and limitations of Microsoft’s PR machine. (Unlike Tom, I’ve never represented Microsoft. But I have twice worked for close competitors so have experienced this PR phenomenon from nearby.)