How to bring new media channels into the PR fold

Work with us

By Alexandra Reid

The challenge of incorporating exciting new-media and social-media channels into traditional PR practices has been the subject of a great deal of debate in the PR industry and the source of a lot of consternation among clients. It has left a lot of people lost, confused and scrambling. For many, it’s as if this new technology crept up and pounced on them in the middle of the night. If you’re feeling perplexed as you try to figure out just how new media should be strategically deployed for business, rest assured that you’ve now got support

inmedia recently hired me as its community manager specifically to help clients incorporate new media activities into their broader PR and marketing strategies.

Many businesses wonder why, despite all their efforts in new media, they still haven’t managed to turn followers and connections into customers. Many have also experienced those horrifying moments where harmful conversations develop about their brand while they don’t have any strategy in place to douse the flames.

That’s why it’s imperative that businesses have a well-thought-out plan before starting any new media endeavour.

As a PR agency with the capabilities of a new media agency, that’s where we can help.

inmedia has been modelling best practices in new media for more than a decade and we have the expertise to prepare and execute new media strategies. Not only can we develop strategies for our clients, we can also implement these strategies on behalf of clients.

We found the transition to new media to be rather easy because we didn’t have to alter our existing practices. Let me explain this point because it is exactly this transition that bedevils many PR agencies.

PR has always been about managing relations with various publics. Going a step further, true PR has always been about building bi-directional channels that require PR practitioners to listen, understand and respond to public concerns and viewpoints in order to forge meaningful relationships between businesses and consumers. It has always been part of our job to bring the public perspective to an organization to enable it to be responsive to public concerns.

inmedia has always taken a highly personal approach to PR and these skills naturally transferred over to new media. This was no stretch, but a seamless extension of what we were already doing. We adapted our existing skills as we saw new outlets become available.

For example, even before Peter Merholz coined the term “blog” in 1999, we were already using the highly personalized approach necessary to be successful in new media. Unlike a lot of PR agencies, we have always taken a highly targeted approach to media relations that places a premium on knowing the target journalist and why she or he would be interested in our client’s story. This approach seamlessly and effectively transferred to pitching bloggers.

Even before the term “social media release” was coined by new-media thought leaders Tom Foremski, Todd Defren, Chris Heuer and Shel Holtz, we were incorporating its elements into our media outreach. In 2007, for example, when we were managing the global launch of the world’s most advanced prosthetic hand, the i-LIMB Hand, for British client Touch Bionics,  we uploaded a video onto YouTube that yielded 100,000 views within a month. We also uploaded a slew of photographs on Flickr, which developed into an active social site for the amputee patient community. Other elements, now seen as part of a complete social media release, were made available on the company’s website.

As larger numbers of useful new channels become available, we are incorporating them into our outreach efforts by sifting through social media and other sites to find the appropriate channels to which we can offer meaningful content and start a conversation.

Now we’re going one step further. After years of looking at the evolution of our PR agency’s use of new media, we are persuaded that there is a new role for us to play – to help clients build the capacity to effectively use social media.

For some time now, we have been researching and developing new media strategies to guide our clients in the building and management of their own social media sites and online communities. Increasingly, with clients that don’t have their own internal resources or know how to use social media sites, we now are also doing at least the heavy lifting of monitoring and identifying opportunities to engage, if not the whole job of also developing and posting content and responding to feedback.

As long as we are authentic and honest, we don’t feel that there’s much of a difference between writing an article for a trade publication under our client’s byline — something that PR agencies have been doing for decades — and representing our clients’ voices in new media or Tweeting on their behalf.

As I continue my work with inmedia in building out our social media practice, I’d love to hear your thoughts regarding PR agencies adopting new practices.


No Comments »

Leave a comment:

Join us

Events We're Attending:

  • image description
  • image description
  • image description
  • image description
  • image description
  • image description
  • image description