How technical media relations has changed - in print and online

Media relations at a crossroad. Pic from digitalart
As explained in our last blog post, we believe that technical PR has changed fundamentally in the last few years and has been changing rapidly for the last decade. We mentioned yesterday how the division of sales enquiries from technical marketing activity has changed and today we plan to look at one of the ways of influencing this transformation; taking advantage of the development in online and offline media relations.

To begin with, the relationship between PR consultants and the print media has metamorphosed over the years into a more targeted one; issuing the odd press release to 147 journalists at the same time is no longer the best technique for communicating your message across. (If it ever really was! – Ed.)

Comprehensive print media relations
These days, PROs should target every section of every magazine: letters for the letter’s section, relevant information for Q&A pieces, snippets for the News in Brief, opinion content for the soap box columns… and much more.

The point is that if you want to let the world know about your new line of tiny blue widgets, the message has to be sent out in various formats and to various magazines in a highly targeted way.

However, in order to help generated interest in the reams of copy you are producing a few rules need to be observed:
  • Targeting: Be specific in terms of what /magazine/journalist/sub-section you want to target
  • Openness: Leave all communication channels open (provide e-mail, telephone, social media addresses, blog URL etc) and use them proactively when pitching
  • Concise: Keep to the point, try to keep the message simple and concise
  • Originality: Use original and distinct content
Up until now we have focused on traditional print media; which means the trade press for most engineering companies.

Comprehensive online media relations

Until not so long ago online publications were regarded as second class citizens. The online press used to be fed leftover copy from print PR campaigns, or even copy rejected by print editors. Now, online publications have become more selective in terms of what they are willing to post.

Furthermore, the online press performs a different function to the print media and needs to be treated differently by technical companies and their PR representatives.

As a rule of thumb, remember that writing for these newer outlets has its distinct characteristics:
  • Uniqueness: Thanks to Panda and countless other Google updates, virtual magazines will only accept good quality, unique content – after all, nobody wants to see their website penalised and falling down the SERPs (Search Engine Page Results)
  • Openness: As with traditional magazines, make sure you keep all communication channels open (provide e-mail, telephone, social media addresses, blog URL, etc).
  • Hyperlinks: Include in your copy deep, embedded links that are useful to the journalist and reader. If the publication includes the hyperlinks, that may translate to more traffic to your website.
  • Clarity: Try to keep sentences short and clear. Imagine how the article would look on your computer: does it entice you to click ‘read more’ or it is hard to decipher and you can’t be bothered to struggle with it? For online readers, you should also write short paragraphs and use bullet points and sub headings.
The relationship between PR and the media has undergone a revolution thanks the Internet, broadband, social media, citizen journalism and online publishing.

The balance of power between print and online has shifted, and the dominance of the latter means that you need to adopt more targeted PR strategies if you want your campaign to be a success.  

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Oana Baetica - Technical PR consultant

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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