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June 11, 2013

Public Relations Primer: Take Advantage of the 24-hr News Cycle

News24HoursMarketers and public relations professionals have recently been faced with a problem of sorts. Instead of having just a few tried-and-true news sources in every market, there now are hundreds. At any given moment, the consumer or business you're trying to reach has the luxury of choosing from a plethora of internet, cable, radio, print and mobile resources. Attention has never been so scattered. That makes it challenging for us to keep up with the ever-shifting audience preferences and to have enough budget to cover them all.

There is a bright side to this situation, especially on the public relations end of the "marketing umbrella."

While there is audience fragmentation and many more channels for people to watch, that also creates an opportunity for you to help journalists, producers and bloggers supplement their offerings. Here are a few ideas for how you can help them create value for their readers/listeners/viewers, while placing your corporate messages (or clients' messages) in appropriate places so they will be seen by the right people.

  1. Never buy an ad without asking for an additional perk. Ask for a half-page of editorial space or the opportunity to talk to a reporter about your company or a new initiative you're working on. Make sure you have something substansive to say - this should not be an infomercial or sidewalk sale preview.
  2. Reporters and producers need your information now more than ever, as they are stretched to the limit. Help them by providing a fully-baked idea. Include links, photos and other assets, viola! You've got a story.
  3. Look for ways to self-publicize. Many online community newspapers have uploading features that allow you to share your news release or story with a local audience. Other programs allow you to create your own community calendar entries. Locally, we love to use the services of Patch and the The Des Moines Register's monster calendar.
  4. Seek opportunities to connect with the local media: If you can contribute knowledge or expertise to a popular storyline in the media, pick up the phone and call the reporter or news station. Tell them directly if you have information that can bolster their reporting or add a new angle. For example, if you're an insurance company with an expertise in healthcare reform, offer your take on the latest news coming out of Washington, D.C.
  5. Be the expert. There are so many businesses that have an expert on staff. Give that person a platform by allowing them to write on your corporate blog. The Des Moines Water Works blog, DSMH2O, is a great collaborative effort and allows their experts from all over the organization to contribute. Also, some blogs accept guest posts from allied organizations, so don't be shy - offer your content to them.
Don't let the 24-hour news cycle scare you! News sites, reporters and bloggers need you just as much as you need them.





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