Government-targeted efforts, college-market outreach, more

What do I need to know about creating a successful PR campaign for companies targeting the government?

Government outreach
What do I need to know about creating a successful PR campaign for companies targeting the government?

The US federal government is one of the world's largest customers, particularly when it comes to technology companies, according to Julie Litzenberger of Sage Communications. With the government's efforts to overhaul its information technology infrastructure, protect its borders, and thwart terrorism, there is a tremendous opportunity for companies that can help the government meet these goals.

"However, the largest challenge for most companies is breaking into this market, as the government is slower to adopt new technology and buys almost entirely on past performance," she notes. Therefore, companies need to be "seen and heard" in the media, tradeshows, and other outlets as thought-leaders on the most important issues - from federal mandates to procurement trends to national security.

"In the government market, 'return on investment' is replaced with 'return on compliance' as its mantra, because everything is focused around a mission," Litzenberger says. "Therefore, PR strategy should always be focused on how technology can help government agencies meet federal mandates, instead of the 'latest and greatest' feature on widgets."

College market
What is a PR pro's shortest route to reaching the lucrative multibillion-dollar college market?

Reaching today's college students can be challenging as they are always on the go. No matter how busy they are, however, they always find time to read their campus paper - either in print or online - and listen to their campus radio station to keep up with what's happening around them.

Press releases can be a cost-effective and efficient communications medium to get your story across, notes Paolina Milana of Marketwire.

"When sent out on a newswire, a press release can generate stories and result in good visibility for your brand in the on-campus media," she adds. Additionally, since many student newspapers carry real-time news feeds on their Web sites, press releases can garner added visibility when they appear online verbatim. As the content is spidered off these sites by search engines, press releases can help generate search-engine visibility, improve search rankings, and help to drive traffic back to a client's Web site.

"When trying to reach the college market," Milana advises, "make sure your newswire of choice provides effective distribution to both the print and broadcast campus media and their online sites for the best chance at maximizing visibility."

Video
What's the best format for online or mobile video?

"Video sharing sites, your Web site designer, iPods, mobile phones - everything has a different requirement when it comes to hosting and viewing videos," says Parallax Productions' Claire McClanahan.

The size of the file, the size of the video window, and the bit rate all affect the quality of video, she adds. Most Web sites and hosting companies have limits on how large a file can be or how high of a bit rate can be handled. Knowing any limitations that your destination might have before you begin could save you hours of frustration.

"Knowing the requirements of your video's destination," McClanahan notes, "will ensure everyone is on the same page." It's also important to note that the requirements and parameters of your video's final destination will vastly affect other details, such as any graphics you'd like to include.

Send your questions to toolbox@prweek.com . Please contact Irene Chang if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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