Friday, November 03, 2006

Can't get media coverage? Use Technology.

From satellite radio to blogging, from podcasts to internet marketing and RSS; technology is ever more pervasive not only in our lives but also in public relations. New techniques are being used to subvert sending messages through third parties (i.e the media) and get them directly to where we want them: the public. Moreover, these techniques are able to avoid broadcasting in favour of narrowcasting. Narrowcasting is the practice of carefully identifying a target audience and crafting a message that speaks directly to it. Unlike broadcasting, its focus and target is much more specific.

Many professionals I come across are concerned (with good reason) with how they can get the biggest bang for their publicity buck. More and more, I'm advising clients and prospects to consider new technology routes in PR as a means of reaching their most desired targets. What are these routes? Let's review some of the options.

Satellite & Internet Radio

Have you heard of XM Radio? As a growing phenomena, more and more North Americans are buying those nifty portable radios that offer hundreds of specialized stations on subjects and genres ranging from the mainstream to the wacky. Are you a bluegrass fan? With Satellite radio, you can subscribe to a station that serves up nothing but bluegrass music and interviews on bluegrass music. Does your business offer combined personal and business motivation strategies? Why not consider getting your message pitched to the producer of the station focusing on personal motivation? Believe it or not, such stations exist and they have a following of a dedicated audience!

In terms of internet radio, there are hundreds of opportunities to become a guest on a show or even host your very own one! One instance of interest for entrepreneurs is EntrepreneurRadio.com. The website is an active radio station with numerous shows from which web visitors can regularly tune in. For a small fee, you can even pitch your own show concept. The popularity of this medium of narrowcasting is even attracting the interest of advertisers looking to sell wares that in a traditional broadcasting medium, might lose out on effect. With Internet Radio, one is not pushing a message out to a general public that may or may not have an interest in your services.

Podcasts, blogging, and RSS

Wow! Don't get blown away with the techie terminology. Here's a breakdown. Podcasts are the newest line of services Action Strategies has broken into. Basically, podcasts are an offshoot of internet radio but they have one important difference: they have the portability of being downloaded anywhere and anytime. Unlike internet radio or regular audio files, podcasts can be stored in one's iPod or music player. They can also be searchable on the internet via search engines. More information on podcasts will be following in subsequent blog postings.

In terms of blogging and RSS, the two are concepts that go hand in hand. As many are aware (especially as you are currently reading a blog), blogs a regular journals that allow readers to leave feedback and opinions. In terms of PR, blogging is a gold mine in terms of gaining immediate feedback from your target publics, assuming you have a critical mass of regular readers. RSS however, augments the experience of the blog reader.

RSS (Real Simple Syndication) allows an interested party to subscribe to a news feed through readily available and often free software called RSS readers. The benefit of RSS enabling your blog or website is that your interested publics can now have updates or notices of updates to your web message sent to them directly by email or through their RSS reader. No longer will they need to remember to visit your website on a regular basis. The result? More familiarity with your message! With the overflow of information most face on a daily basis, people have less and less time to visit umpteen numbers of websites. Your RSS feed directly to your audience provides an uninteresting means of reminding them of what you're up to.

The bottom line

You need to view your publicity efforts in a three dimensional aspect. Media relations is an excellent vehicle for publicity but it should never be viewed as the sole vehicle towards your objectives.


Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. Action Strategies has recently expanded its services into professional podcasting for clients looking to leverage electronic PR opportunities for greater publicity. You can subscribe now to his monthly PR & marketing tips newsletter by visiting www.actionstrategies.ca and dropping down the newsletter menu.

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