The New Age of Digital Press Office
Marketing is a science in constant evolution. The tools and strategies used by marketing managers today will probably be different tomorrow. One of the main reasons for this constant change is the evolution of technology. The press office is one of the most used tools in marketing, so it is important to provide managers with new ways to act suited to the current market.
Concerning the press office, the expansion of Internet has changed the rules of the communication game. Today, we are witnessing the shift towards a Digital Press Office. In the past, press office was a service whose value was not accessible to every budget. Fortunately, there are online models of press office which have reduced the costs of this digital activity. Thanks to the creation and empowerment of the digital environment, the press officer activities have expanded and, while it is important to maintain effective relationships with journalists, the press office professionals must now master the digital environment through social media, blogs or forums.
It is important to remember what is press office in order to understand its evolution and new forms of actions in the current market.
If you are the director or the manager of a specific business area and you intend to create this internal department or sub-hire to promote and communicate your company or brand, it is relevant to refer that press office implies knowledge of journalism, advertising, design, marketing and public relations. All those areas together are capable of maximising your results through communication. Therefore, the main role of press office is serving as a bridge between the company, organisation or brand and the media. The assisted – which may be a private individual, company or agency – achieves positive and trustworthy visibility within the society, meaning, accomplishes improvement of his image. The department responsible for the press office should deeply know the company, organisation or brand: its history, weaknesses, strengths, its competitors and the market/area it acts in. From there, the professional will find the potential news which peaks the media’s interest in publishing.
One of the main mistakes which take place in this stage – and after peaking the media’s interest – is when the company, organisation or brand asks the means of communication to see or read it content before its publication. This should not occur because, since such content is not paid, the company, organisation or brand should not and cannot demand to see or read in advance such publications. So, there should be serious care in the information supplied to the media, by making sure it is true and real, preventing it from being distorted in the publication.
The main strategies used in Digital Press Office are as follows:
- Planning: creating a work plan which includes the target media, the chosen editorials (fashion, gastronomy, economics, health, education, etc…) and the topics which may be sent to the press. In such planning there should be:
– Recipient of the Communication, B2B or B2C: The communication will be completely different if the products or services of the company, organisation or brand are meant for companies or final clients. Although this sounds obvious, there are many companies with a clear B2B communication method which turn to B2C media, and thus they do not reach their target audience. Therefore, it is very important to define the recipient of the communication and, after that, to select the right media.
– Media: a list of a set of media suitable for the company, organisation and brand and with the potential to reach the target audience. Such media are available in different formats and should be carefully chosen, according to the business area to communicate. For instance: newspapers, magazines, TV, radios, websites, blogs, forums, e-magazines, among others.
– The content of the message: to get space within the media, it is important to have a good story to tell. Tell something new which will peak the target audience’s attention. This is the kind of analysis the journalist wants to receive. So, the press office professional should understand the market and select theme which will also interest the media. For instance: the launching of a new app/website; the testimony of user on the benefits of the solution – seasonal promotion; comparative market researches; launching of a new campaign, the closing of a contract with an important client; good practices of management and processing, among others.
- Press Release: sending information in text or audio format when sent to radio. If a journalist is interested in your content, he will use the press office text or will schedule an interview with the company, organisation or brand.
- Follow-Up: calling or keeping in touch with journalist and editors in order to offer content or news. At this stage, the follow-up method must be used to assure the information has reached its recipient.
- Clipping: in the clipping method, a report (daily, weekly or monthly) report is produced containing what has gone out to the press about the company, organisation or brand. Besides, clipping enables a qualitative and quantitative analysis of each note or story conveyed.
- Press service: the company, organisation or brand may become news for several reasons and, as it is not possible to publish everything that happens, the press officer will have the new criteria to determine what can become news. When a journalist wishes to interview a professional of the company, organisation or brand, it is up to the press officer to see him and facilitate and mediate the contact.
- Media Training: the professional may be interviewed in writing, over the phone or even live, on the radio or television. Thus, the press officer is responsible for training the spokespeople, such as managers, directors and most requested officers for interviews with the aim of preparing them for such occasions.
- Crisis management: it is the press office professionals’ responsibility to come up with a communication plan for times of crisis. You should be capable and know how to deal with exposure and also being able to reverse the situation with positive information about the company, organisation or brand.
MA Marketing Course Leader
LSDM – London School of Design and Marketing