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New School PR

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In a previous post I driveled on the idea that the PR services industry is entering a bit of a transition period and that old school agency business models need to evolve to keep in line with changing market conditions and a growing DIY business mentality.

Also, that the onus is ultimately on us, the industry pros, to adapt our thinking (and our skill sets) to bring new ideas and really, new value to the table for those clients we represent.

Great, so how do we do this?

I think a big part of the solution is shifting what were previously push-centric PR programs to pull-centric ones. Bear with me on this, I realize this post is longer than my normal stuff.

PR 1.0 (old school PR) was all about pushing content out to get attention. Press releases, case studies, white papers, VNRs, even media pitches (arguably), were all good examples of push PR content. It was a one-way broadcast for sharing your message. And for a while it worked, and to some extent it still does, but not nearly as well anymore.

Why?

Because there’s simply too much information available now and people (really, the media in this context) have more of a choice and certainly more control over what they pay attention to and, quite frankly, what they ignore.

PR 2.0 (new school PR) is all about pulling attention in using content (and herein rests a huge new opportunity for PR business). Technologies like RSS are enabling PR programs in big new ways to pull attention in – the trick is making sure our clients have compelling enough content to hold it.

A corporate blog is a great example (certainly a popular one) of how to use content to pull and hold attention, but this is the part in the post where you nod agreeingly, roll your eyes, yawn, but then I tell you that blogs are just scratching the surface.

PR 2.0 programs need to think, act and look more like Big Media networks – with blogs just being a slice (a channel) of the corporate content that pulls audiences in and keeps their attention. The good news here is that most companies are already sitting on piles of great content, they just don’t know it and those that do, just don’t know what to do with it.

John Furrier at PodTech gets this, probably better than anyone right now, and while he’s not a “PR guy” he recognizes the value of content that’s idly sitting behind corporate firewalls (in his case, smart people), and so he’s using InfoTalk as a way to showcase that content, pulling attention in via podcasting and growing a massive audience in the process.

This model can work for PR programs too, it just requires taking some 1.0 tactics and putting it in a 2.0 context and thinking like a media network – always keeping in mind that good content gets good attention and bad content gets ignored.

For example, case studies and white papers could have a second life (in this PR network model) in the form of dedicated podcast channels. Likewise, glossy product one sheets could become screencasts, executive bylines could become videocasts, product support materials could become wikis, press materials could become syndicated blog posts, etc., etc., etc.

It’s about taking what’s worked in the past, remixing it a bit and using new distribution models (and a variety of new technologies) to give people a choice of how they want to consume it and really where they want put their attention on your PR network.

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Mike Manuel is the founder of the award winning Media Guerrilla blog. Media Guerrilla is an insiders take on the practice of technology public relations with a focus on the issues, tactics and trends that are specific to the tech industry.

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