Let’s have some online PR in MW

Jo-Anne Flack captured it brilliantly in her article “Dot-compilers” (MW last week) when she wrote: “Good content is hard to come by.”

She echoed the words of Zad Rogers in the new media section of the Monday Guardian, who said: “New media is experiencing a phenomenon best described as a content gap; technology has run ahead of our ability to do anything interesting with it.”

With Web access now possible through every imaginable channel – from mobile and fixed line telephones to TVs, palm tops and even fridges – convergence has arrived. With 40 per cent of the UK population now in possession of a mobile, and 2.5 million homes connected to digital TV services, it’s no surprise the Henley Centre predicts near 100 per cent Internet penetration by 2010.

So what, you might ask? Well, given the enormous content opportunities on the Net, why are so few organisations exploiting them? There are many thousands of news and lifestyle Websites that are hungry for externally-supplied content. They offer great potential for media relations activities – supplying stories, news, graphics, stills and video is positively encouraged. And, what’s more, they are happy to offer a direct response mechanism, with a hyperlink often seen as a useful part of the editorial.

PR on the Net works. Group Lotus recently bagged more than 80 orders for its new M250 car as a direct result of coverage on news and lifestyle Websites.

This is, of course, only the tip of the iceberg – there are lots more ways to supply content.

It’s well documented that PR is not, as a rule, a welcome topic in Marketing Week. (Let’s not debate whether this is PR or another marketing activity.) But surely readers are interested in results such as these? Perhaps they are even keen to see their budgets work in this way? Come on Marketing Week, let’s have some space dedicated to online PR.

Matthew Thomson

New media director

Bulletin International

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