Carefully Crafted on September 23

Exploring Relationships Between Social Media and Publicity

Here’s today’s shocking statistic of the day: 70% of journalists use social networks to assist in reporting, according a a recent report in PRWeek (log in required), which I first read about on Journalistics. That’s 30 points higher than last year.

For reasons that I still can’t quite wrap my head around, more than a few PR people are hesitant to include bloggers as part of their media outreach, even though example after example illustrates a story starting on a blog and getting picked up by “traditional” media. At the same time, plenty of companies big and small aren’t participating in social media. This means they have no online presence outside a traditional website.

I’ve said before that I can see how social media may not be right for every company. This study may make me rethink that opinion. Maybe vast social media integration isn’t right for every business; however, if nearly three-quarters of reporters are turning to these online networks for information, maybe I’m wrong. Should any organization that desires media attention participate in social media, even if it’s just to create a small presence?

Does social media = media coverage?

Let’s think this through. In this example, Company A and Company B are both experts in trends in education. Sally is our overworked and underpaid reporter. Education isn’t normally her beat, but the newspaper cut staff again, so they’re trying to make ends meet. She as no idea that Company A and B are out there — until she starts her research on Google. She discovers that Company A has recently blogged about this same trend and left comments on other blogs discussing changes in education. They seem to be well informed, so she contacts them, gets the interview and continues with her story. Company B, which didn’t have an online website (other than their traditional, static website) wasn’t included in the article.

I know this is an oversimplification, but it doesn’t sound all that far fetched to me. Companies can increase their odds of receiving media coverage by participating in social media. Agree or disagree? Got any examples to share?

(And, as a bonus, check out this video interview with the Huffington Post media editor for some extra insight and tips about media relations in an online world.)

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  1. […] very smart Heather Whaling asked on her blog Wednesday whether social media begets mainstream coverage. Now, for me, that gets my attention, […]

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