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In Uncertain Media Climates, It’s the News that Matters. Not the Medium.

Recent blog post from Digitally Powered PR

Dense clouds of doubt are hovering over traditional mainstream news outlets in the United States — newspapers, magazines, radio and broadcast television. Even social media can’t escape uncertainty. Look at the recent sale of Digg for what amounts to practically pennies.

In a news and information landscape that changes as quickly as the tides, there is one fundamental truth for public relations:

It’s the news that matters — not the medium.

People can and do get their information from many sources. Much of what they get originates from PR people. I don’t see that changing. In fact, I think it will grow, so PR people need to be able to create and deliver news themselves. To prosper in this digitally powered reality, every business needs to have a communications foundation with four strong corners:

1. Community

Maintain a living network of connections with the broadest collection of the people and institutions that represent your stakeholders. Create your own community that includes those who support you and those who don’t. It must be both an analog community that includes direct physical contact and a digital one, with feedback and transparency enabled by social media.

2. Content

Have a robust, cost-efficient system in place to generate news and information yourself — in text, pictures, video and graphics. Content should be persuasive, but it also must be must be “meaningful.” That means solid, useful, relevant information that has value to the user. People are smart, and they are getting smarter. The more they use search, the better they get at choosing between reliable sources of information and promotional junk. Expect the technology behind search to get even better at helping people make good choices.

3. Channels

Create multiple distribution vehicles so you can reach your community directly. Email. Social media. Direct mail. Live events. Publicity is important, too, but you need to give your organization the flexibility to make media coverage in whatever form it takes a bonus. Always use your channels first to talk to your community.

4. Metrics

Know what you need to measure and create the most customized measurement tools your organization can afford. Digital tools make collecting quantitative and qualitative data more achievable than ever. Metrics are essential because they ensure what you’re doing is working, but they’re also needed because the highly visible and tangible proof once documented in clip reports is no longer as relevant or as thick.

Like media relationships that lead to great news coverage, the four corners can’t be built overnight. They take hard work and investment over a long period of time. If you’re organization wants to thrive in whatever the news media world becomes, make sure you’ve got the building blocks of your communications foundation in place.

The Post-Publicity Era is coming. Are you ready?

Greg writes regularly about the impact of digital technology on public relations on his blog at www.digitallypoweredpr.com.