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How does PR link with digital?

June, 2014

Andrew Metcalf has recently spoken about the relationship between PR and digital at Digital in Kent and West Kent B2B. Here he outlines the lifecycle of a news story, from first tweeted rumour to full press coverage.

You have to understand PR is about more than press releases. It involves recognising the speed at which news travels, making connections and reaching out to any audience that is important to a client’s business. This means utilising the usual news channels and any other media available – including social.

It also requires an understanding of how and where journalists and the general public collect and disseminate their news.

In a 24/7 world the deadline is dead as the media takes a digital first approach to the news, increasingly choosing to back this up with more in depth coverage in newspapers and magazines, meaning a story can break anywhere at any time. And increasingly that place is Twitter.

But let’s start at the beginning and consider the lifecycle of a news story.

The PR agency should be briefed on the business already, meaning they will be ready to act if unexpected news appears, but more often than not they will know about the story ahead of its release in order to carefully manage the process. This involves briefing stakeholders, preparing a press release or statement and organising any interviews or follow up information.

The story itself will often break digitally with a tweet – either from the press or an internal source or rumour. An official statement will then be released, swiftly followed by online, but limited in detail, coverage as outlets rush to be the first with the news.

Press enquiries will be next, with a media scrum for interviews and updates ready for the lunchtime news or newspaper deadline, with further, more detailed reports appearing. All of which will be pushed and then shared on social media.

Next comes newsjacking, with businesses, agencies and individuals attempting to get in on the action. Having a proactive PR agency can make a big difference between adding appropriate comment or wading in where you’re not welcome if the story was not your own from the start. The volume of this also varies – do you simply write a short tweet with the appropriate hashtag attached or a lengthy article to be shared on a blog?

To find success at this, your business’ reputation, leadership and knowledge are key to being seen as a credible commentator. Your PR agency will help you choose an angle to ensure you have something valuable to add within an appropriate timescale.

Finally, to maximise the return on your investment the press release should be uploaded to your website, linked to your social media activity (which you’ve been doing from the story’s first mention) and distributed as required. In this instance the world may be digital but don’t forget print. Your comment could be just the addition the press require to add weight to their more in-depth coverage.

Andrew Metcalf - Director

Andrew Metcalf

Maxim / Director

posted in: advice, digital, media relations, public relations, social media,

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