This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!
After today’s media tour hosted by IABC BC, I came to a realization today, as did many of the other attending PR practitioners, I assume: the future is online.
The ladies at IABC know how to do it. In the course of about 4 hours, we visited the Vancouver Sun, CKNW, CBC, and were treated to lunch with Global TVBC’s Wesla Wong. There were some common messages that have been clubbed into my head over the years, which the gracious media hosts were still asking us to do: be relevant… be newsy… understand our programs… don’t blanket pitch. But the standout message of the day was that, at the end of the day, media aren’t just covering for one outlet anymore. They’ve evolved to include online.
This was not huge news to me, but when I sat down at Vancouver Sun’s first editorial meeting of the day – focused on their WEB content – I think that did it for me. To my knowledge, CKNW hasn’t quite evolved to the level of showing video on their site, but the other three all have separate web staff. The CBC is so organized now – physically – that their entire multimedia news team works on the same floor and the stories that go on radio and/or TV are almost guaranteed to go online. It made me think about all the stories I might have lost for my clients if I had not even thought of pitching for online exclusively. (Because yes, no matter how good you think your story is, it is rarely applicable to all three media types.)
Case in point, my boyfriend Leo, who writes on VancouverBeerBlog.com. He isn’t a web expert, and is too modest to even call himself a beer expert. I helped him set up his WordPress blog in October of 2010 and taught him how to use Twitter and keywords in his tags, posts, and categories. Though he certainly isn’t the only beer blogger in the city or province, his traffic is quite substantial (according to his interpretation of Google Analytics) and he reached over 1,000 followers faster than I did (two years). At last weekend’s Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Annual General Meeting, he was given the first Gold Award for Best Beer Blogger/Writer for 2012. My boyfriend, who, when starting the blog almost couldn’t tell the difference between your and you’re, won Best Beer Writer of 2012.
Leo explained that he was told that he was one of the top 3 writers voted among members. But the members actually didn’t choose the best of the 3; they had to choose randomly, which means that people knew of his blog more than they did of all the other beer writers and bloggers around town. This meant something interesting: that it doesn’t matter who’s been writing the longest, who’s the best writer or who wrote for the most distinguished media outlet; it mattered that people saw him online. I know how much hard work Leo has put into the content of his blog, and now I rarely see him out without his camera. But, he’s only just scratched the surface when it comes to online reporting. He’s not on Facebook like I am (though his blogs will often get posted there), and doesn’t post any video reviews. So imagine what his traffic and exposure might be like if he did?
Global BC’s producers love interacting with people on Facebook (they have 3 different pages!) and Twitter. While it might not guarantee media coverage, the retweeting and interaction may certainly work in a client’s favour, especially with public events.
I am dead serious about video now. I always encouraged my clients to have it on hand, but now I’m going to start to demand it, even for the less obvious cases. Because they don’t know what I know now… they might still want that “front page” story or that 3 minute broadcast interview, and I will still try and get that for them. But if I can get that photo or video on an outlet’s website too, then the better for us both.