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11/11/2013

Speed Of Light PR In The Information Age

Handling press relations for broadcast clients has dramatically changed over the past 18 years, especially since the introduction of the first iPhone, and speed and bandwidth advances with the Internet infrastructure that soon followed, writes Debra Pagan, President and founder, D. Pagan Communications.

While the written word is still a main component of our campaigns as an avenue to deliver the message, we rely more and more on a fully integrated media campaign, as offering dynamic content is now commonplace for website postings, blogs and social media. Smart phones, tablets and new generations of extremely powerful, yet compact video cameras allow anyone to send man-on-the-show floor interviews out to the world instantly via the Internet. In this continued state of transition, we at D. Pagan Communications have embraced these changes to better serve the broadcast industry.
While the printing industry has changed in the past 563 years since Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, the goal of getting the word onto paper has not changed.
For breaking news items, websites are becoming a critical disseminator of information, creating a constant craving for on-location videos, graphics and pictures to bring the message forward. An extension of the website model, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have opened an interactive channel to followers supplementing the need, in some cases, for a website. All this digital advancement is spurring traditional PR models to evolve.
Using IBC as an example, time-honoured methods are now joined by all the new information outlets and methodologies in an additive process requiring a savvy, coordinated approach to each new element.
For example, a respected equipment manufacturing client has invented the new, must-have product that will turn the broadcast production world upside down and needs to get the word out for IBC. The first point of focus for PR is the inimitable press kit and the press release about the new product that will become a part of said kit. This messaging is the inspiration for all subsequent tactics in a multi-channel, integrated media approach.
The new social media and Twitter outlets present a coordination challenge, timed so that the first-day-of-show Daily featuring the new product and the anxiously awaited press conference, coincide with Facebook/social media postings and a clever summation 140-character message on Twitter. The challenge becomes creating and recreating content appropriate for each media outlet type while maintaining message consistency. What might work for a traditional press release or website posting may need a shorter, lighter treatment for Facebook and an impossibly short challenge for Twitter. What this information looks like across all outlets requires a consistent message, while also coordinating the timing and knowledge about what works best for each destination.
The ever presence of video in both our professional and personal lives has turned PR professionals and our clients from simply writers to video producers. Video production comes from the manufacturing side as well as the editorial side.
Press appointments now include requests for video interviews that are almost immediately available on YouTube and other video sites. A new initiative for our agency comes from the advent of powerful, yet easy to use video editing programs like iMovie, for example. When a manufacturer wants to produce its own video presentation for coordinated dissemination, they very often turn to us to aid in writing the script. Our foundation in writing put us up to the task, helping the client to get his/her message across while keeping the tone conversational, emulating the videos typically seen on YouTube and other posting sites.
In closing, PR in the modern technical era requires a team that is versed in many disciplines to successfully get the word out for a client. The one area that does need improvement is increased cooperation between broadcasters, manufacturers and the PR team to streamline delivering technical messages to the industry at large. What one broadcaster uses in a production facility is important for the entire industry to know, in order to help keep the manufacturers innovating and advancing products. Our job in PR has grown into a technical and information dissemination challenge to deliver news at the speed of light.
Read the article in the online edition of RFV here.
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