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Canadians: you can add a Kindle to your Christmas list

By Linda Forrest

Finally, Amazon has announced that its e-book reader, the Kindle, is available to Canadians. While much of the rest of the world has been happily e-reading for quite some time, we’re just now being graced with Kindle’s presence, something I wrote about last month.

While I’m an avid reader, I can’t quite imagine reading a novel on an e-reader, though the fact that the Kindle would alleviate the constant challenge we face in our household to find bookshelf space for the masses of reading material we own, is rather appealing. Still, we’ve already placed our order for a new bookshelf from Santa rather than a Kindle. Perhaps next year.

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The importance of news

By Danny Sullivan

While much of the PR industry will refer simply to “news releases” as a term to cover the whole spectrum of outbound news flow, at inmedia, we at least choose to assign some level of importance to releases before deciding on the level of effort to placed against them. Attributing a level of media value to a release at the outset will ensure that PR resources are not being wasted on outreach that is never going to yield results.

A good example to illustrate this news value is the customer-win announcement. Companies love to be able to announce new customers and often feel that this should always be a newsworthy item among the media. And so it may be, some of the time. There is a huge difference between announcing a deal where the new customer is prepared to speak about the strategic decisions behind a purchase that has a significant dollar value attributed to it, and a deal where the customer is not prepared to say anything more than the fact they are “working with” the new vendor. The news value here is vastly different; one can reasonably be expected to be pitched for real coverage, while all the other can hope for is, at best, a couple of lines pulled direct from the release.

Sometimes this value-assessment exercise can be challenging. Companies often have an inflated opinion of the importance of their news, but taking a clear stance at an early stage helps prevent awkward questions after the fact. News that is simply an FYI to your market should be exactly that - a piece of information to be noted but without anyone making a great fuss.

Conversely, news that you know has real value should be explored to its fullest extent. I’ve had a few experiences in recent months with news stories that had definite value but that took a bit more than just sending a release to media to secure coverage. Follow up is hugely important; it can be amazing how often you speak to editors who claim to have not seen your news story, then checks inbox, finds it and agrees that it’s something they should be covering! For important news, you should never assume that simply sending the email will guarantee it is seen by your targets.

Another common experience is the editor who may have seen the release but “doesn’t cover news” so thought it was irrelevant and deleted it. For this situation, you need to be aware of the deeper issues that your news story addresses. If you are releasing a new product, why does it have the new features and functionality it does? Do they address a trend in the marketplace? Can this trend be explored as part of a feature?

Establishing the importance of news is a crucial exercise for any PR person to undertake for every announcement, helping both manage expectations and ensuring that effort is expended in the most useful areas.

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