Optimal use of online media, tips on monitoring, and more

Where do I begin when delving into online media on behalf of clients?

Online media
Where do I begin when delving into online media on behalf of clients?

"It's not always easy to know where to start if online media is unfamiliar territory," says Elaine Ellis of Schenkein. "So take advantage of a few resources before venturing into this arena for clients."

Start by paying attention to online conversations. Technorati, for example, tracks more than 106 million blogs. Chances are, someone online is talking about your client's brand, Ellis notes, which means others are listening. By tracking uninhibited discussions, you gain a better understanding of what people think about your client.

Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site that offers a transparent look at how companies are branded by online users. "This tool shows us what phrases are most commonly associated with a specific brand or Web site," she adds.

"Don't neglect message boards either, despite new, buzz-worthy emerging media," Ellis suggests. Online users still opt for this method to ask questions about brands and services they use to get what they believe to be a non-biased response.

To truly resonate with future and current clients, use these methods to begin navigating their online reputation.

Integrated services
How can PR prevail in integrated marcomms client service?

Clients who come to full-service communications agencies for strategic advice and support often bring preconceived notions on what they need, explains Mike Snyder of integrated marcomms firm Associated.

Clients might think they want "just marketing" or "just advertising," but it's important to listen to and ask questions of them in order to understand their goals. Then you can present them a plan that will best meet their objectives. "Our plans almost always include PR services," says Snyder. "In fact, PR can make the umbrella plan even stronger.

"If the message isn't 'PR-able,' then perhaps the message isn't strong enough or well-targeted," he continues, adding that PR in an integrated plan needs support. "Since it is often misunderstood, it is imperative that PR is championed by senior leadership."

Snyder stresses that strong thinking and great ideas sell clients on what they weren't looking to buy. "In the end," he explains, "PR can be less costly than paid placement,
have more client involvement, and greater impact. Clients get excited about this."

Media monitoring
Finding out the kind of pickup my press release receives is really important to me. Will Google NewsAlerts suffice?

Google NewsAlerts are great to use for basic searches, but the scope of the service is limited in terms of the number of sites monitored and the complexity of the searches that can be performed.

Your best bet is to ensure that the wire service you're using to distribute your release has built-in ROI reporting that can provide results tailored to your release and that it is designed to collect those results from a large and varied number of online news sources, says PR Newswire's Tracy Maurer.

"You should also find one that provides additional forwarding and report-creation capabilities so that you can easily share this data with colleagues and others," she adds.

Maurer also notes that there are media-monitoring services that include robust search strings, multiple report formats, and RSS feeds, plus a support staff and ongoing training webinars that help customers fully use the service - all at no extra cost.

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