Why publicists should not jump in bed with programmers

Why publicists should not jump in bed with programmers

I grew up in the tech industry and I can tell you that industry is not ‘solving problems’.  Instead, they create super cool sexy new technology – and then go find the problem it can fix (to justify the super cool sexy new technology AND all the money it costs). For that reason we’ve got to keep them away from our poor public relations people. No dears – technology will NOT make that editor or producer any more anxious to read your release no matter what those HTML programmers tell you.

I’m not talking about social media, lord knows that’s some of the crappiest, buggiest stuff I’ve ever seen. I’m talking about things like online press release distribution, ‘smart news releases’, social media news releases, viral videos, and so on. All this extra stuff with a press release is just the digital equivalent of sending your press release in a great big box full of loose corn and a music box playing cheesy farmer songs. (Yes, I did this one year, I admit it) It will get attention but it won’t make your story any more interesting. Worst part – in some cases it further annoy especially if your slick “multimedia” won’t open on their computer. (Case in point here’s one from Ericsson. You tell me if you can get that video to play.) Plus, top media wants exclusive information – not videos and photos anyone can get off the internet.

If an article or release gets strong pickup online, the last thing you want readers to do is stay at the document. You want them following links to your site!  Set up a cool multimedia press center on your own site and  make sure it works.  If you want a good example of how technology supports public relations visit the news center of the Symantec website. Here’s why tech has NOT taken over here:

  • Clearly labeled areas show you where the videos, podcasts, releases and other items are kept. It’s ORGANIZED.
  • Releases have an RSS feed and a Share mechanism – easy for the user to subscribe to new releases and share them via social media
  • Separate areas include a press center and social media center. Much of the same information is posted in different areas, but they’re presented in ways to suit the particular reader’s needs
  • Although it’s not particularly fast, it’s not terribly slow either. I don’t have to wait for a snazzy intro in order to get to what I want.

Plain and simple, don’t fill up your releases, websites, articles and other media information with a bunch of junk. The media wants INFORMATION –  not cool jazzy widgidigits. Think I’m wrong? Ask an editor sometime.

Now excuse me, I have to go look at all the new WordPress plug-ins. 🙂