Media advice

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In a recent article in the Dutch magazine ‘Communicatie’ 8 statements on New Media are being commented by 6 media experts. These are their answers:

1. Organizations must start blogs which employees can use

Only start a blog if you have something interesting to tell, and if you are able to share some info. Some companies are just not very ‘sexy’, or don’t want to share anyway. Start internally first and if that’s successful you can go outside. And send your bloggers to a writing course…

2. To put much time and resources in Second Life is stupid

Some of the experts think ‘Second Hype’ is a waste of many. Others are less pronounced. ABN AMRO used it as a marketing stunt; they were the first bank in SL. This effect however will wear off. For educational purposes it might be a different story and SL can have an added value right now.

3. A wiki is nice for internal use, but certainly not for external

Public wikis can be extremely useful for customer-intimacy and customer-bonding. By letting customers for example create your product support page you create an enormous amount of good will.

4. Making podcasts and short movies for the internet is useless, the range is too short

Very useful for niche marketing, but therefore not less important. Also from an informative point of view -a kind of online instruction video- can be very cost efficient. Attention point however is the quality. Most quality is very poor and it is difficult to find talent inside the company to make something nice and engaging. Also search possibilities within a video must be improved.

5. PR and Corporate Communication Department must react on blogs and fora if people write about their companies

Everybody agrees: avoid the most annoying commentors. Only react on people who write obviously non-informed bull shit, and not on the ‘trollers’, people who complain just for the sake of it. And do it transparant, say who you are and stick with the facts.

6. PR and Corporate Communication Department must place PR material on sites with user generated content or other social networks

Prefarably not. These sites are made by people who are very enthusiastic about the content of the site. In many cases (if not all) authenticity is key. If you don’t ‘connect’ with the inhabitants of the site it can back fire. Most press releases are not very creative and thus not appealing to this public.

7. A webcast is a very good alternative for a press conference

It’s a very valuable addition, but not a replacement. Webcasts should be there for archiving.

8. Personally inform sites and blogs about company news is more effective than sending around press releases

Specify your news and segment the market. Send this targeted news to the relevant group and don’t overkill them with -for them- non information. Don’t try to ‘bribe’ bloggers. Microsoft did that once by sending a laptop with Vista to influential bloggers and aksed an Australian blogger to change a wiki in favor of Vista. Microsoft was eaten alive when this came out.

Some more advice for Communication Officers:

– Learn the new media search techniques. Still many communication people don’t know the tools for this: technoratti, RSS-feeds, Google News Alert and Google Blog Search

– Transparancy wins, and you’ll loose control. Get over it and get used to it.

Internet is the test to see if you want to change: if you feel okay now, it’s even getting better. Experiencing bad times now? Time to find another job. I can assure you, it’s getting worse…

Source: will follow

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