Todays guest post is from Andrew Lambert of Newsmaker PR. Visit the website here.
Suddenly everyone is an expert. The digital age has provided the technology and platforms for us all to become publishers of our own material. At the same time newspapers are cutting staff and becoming more and more reliant on content generated by, or on behalf of, local businesses. Has there ever been a greater opportunity to promote your goods or service? (Click to tweet)
The digital revolution has created an abundance of streams of communication which enable editorial or public relations/promotion to reach a readership or audience at the press of a button. For journalists of a certain age this is utopia. No frustrating wait until your newspaper is printed next day or next week. No delay before the slow wheels of television production eventually broadcast your story. Twitter, which was once all about celebrities getting stuck in lifts or what they had for breakfast, is now the first source of breaking news. Journalists are even tweeting the outcome of cases from inside court rooms.
The ease with which we can all publish creates the understandable temptation to publish a lot – and we do. Apparently 6,000 new tweets appear on Twitter every second. That is five million per day. For every fascinating court case finishing at the Old Bailey there must also be a lot of self-indulgent nonsense posted every second of every day. Do not fall into this trap.
Public relations is all about promoting and protecting a business or organisation, its reputation and brand. Public relations helps achieve objectives, such as improving sales by highlighting an innovative product or assisting recruitment by showing that this is a good place to work. Most people are aware, for example, that John Lewis pays its staff a generous annual bonus because every year its PR department tells the media.
A genuine news story or item of interest, such as the John Lewis bonus, provides the opportunity to promote the company and its objectives without having to pay for advertising or even recruitment consultants. The message that this is a good employer comes across loud and clear.
Public relations works if readers, viewers or listeners find a story engaging and relevant and then act as a result. They might buy your product, mention your business to a friend or relative or visit your website. Those actions will only be achieved, however, by creating that initial interest.
Digital technology and social media have created accessible platforms to reach your target audience. But without strong content those opportunities are wasted and if you over-indulge – too many tweets or too many press releases to under-staffed newspapers – you could end up damaging your brand and throw away a chance to make a real impact when you really have something to say.
Content is still king – even in the digital age.