New media measurement, best stories for radio, more

Why and how should companies be tracking their reputation in today's new-media world?

Why and how should companies be tracking their reputation in today's new-media world?

New-media measurement aims to make sense of the content and comment on a wide range of online venues: traditional news media Web sites and blogs, online-only news sites and blogs, social networks, virtual communities, and more. Each is a potential venue for allies and fans or competitors and detractors.

Catherine Reynolds, MD of Echo Research US, states, "We recognize that this is clearly a new environment for stewards of corporate and brand reputations responsible for online content evaluation, and for PR pros in general who seek accurate techniques for new-media measurement."

New-media measurement finds the greatest challenge in the different categories of consumer-generated-media (CGM) properties such as blogs, forums, social networks, and file-sharing tools. They all run on the Internet, but each uses different channels and operates with different technologies.

"Therefore, no one single tool can monitor all the sources needed for online content evaluation," says Reynolds. "Yet there are far too many individual CGM properties for the human eyeball to track. Thus, there's no one-size-fits-all solution for new-media monitoring."

What are the best types of stories for radio?

Such stories can generally be categorized as "news you can use," says Susan Matthews Apgood of News Generation. "Pocketbook issues, health information, safety tips, any-thing that can be translated to a person's everyday life, is what works best on radio.

"Keep in mind that radio provides access to a demographic better than any other mass communication medium," she adds. "So think about what women age 25 and up listening to an adult contemporary station would want out of a story versus men age 18 and up listening to a rock station and coordinate your message accordingly."

Since radio is a consumer medium, keeping your average radio listener in mind is key to pitching a story. One good way to do this, offers Apgood, is to become a savvy radio listener yourself. "By tuning in to what you would look for as a radio listener," she notes, "you can tap into radio's power.

RNRs vs. RMTs
Radio news releases (RNR) and radio media tours (RMT) each have advantages. How do you choose the right tactic?

Timing is everything. "If you're short on time, RNRs can be turned around quickly - in a pinch, within one to three days, in English or Spanish," says John Butler, VP of Zcomm. "On the other hand, RMTs get best results when planned a few weeks ahead to give stations maximum flexibility.

When it comes to reaching specific audiences, RMTs offer greater control because they're booked one by one. "RNRs generally run during news programming, but stations make final decisions about when to air specific releases we pitch," he adds. Keep in mind, though, that RNR placements can be guaranteed to run on hundreds of appropriately formatted stations, in addition to target stations personally pitched.

"An RMT places your spokesperson in a longer-form interview setting and gets your messages out there in a big way," adds Butler. "If you'd rather have your spokesperson work in a more structured, scripted setting, an RNR is the better option."

Of course, if your budget allows for it, he adds, it pays to do both an RNR and an RMT.

Send your questions to Please contact Lisa LaMotta if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns. Tookbox is available online at

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