Tumblr, Storify and More: Journalists Embracing New Media Tools, PR Community Should, Too

by Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager, Business Wire/Chicago

Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager

Attending the recent Online News Association (ONA) conference in Boston inspired me to step up my social tech tools game. Christine Montgomery, managing editor of PBS.org and ONA president characterized the recent meeting as “the intersection of journalism and technology….where members come together to reinvent journalism.”

Journalists have learned their lessons, no longer lagging behind as their audience embraces change. These digital reporters are among a group not only embracing new media tools, but shouting their praises from roof tops.

But are PR people are listening?   We hope so.  The PR community would benefit by getting familiar with the new media tools described below.  Take a look.

Tumblr

Tumblr has been around, but tripled its audience in the last year to more than 28 million blogs, igniting new interest. People are ready for the next big thing and Telegraph.co.uk says Tumblr is “to weblogs what text messages are to email – short, to the point, and direct.”  Reporters love that Tumblr rewards original or unique material. Posting the most interesting information from a story is a great way for them to repurpose content.  Fun and lively photos are great “Tumblr bait” and often get reblogged and shared.

PR APPLICATION: Brands using Tumblr include Huggies, General Electric and J.Crew. Does your organization have great photos sitting in a boring photo archive? Recycle that content and create a Tumblr feed.  Do your clients have great quotes in their press releases? Share them on Tumblr.

Storify

Changing the way reporters find sources and incorporate social network content into their online news stories,  Storify allows for better story telling by helping the “writer” to easily drop in content from social sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.  Melanie Eversley of USA Today used Storify to recap her lasting lessons from the National Association of Black Journalist’s convention in August.  The Bay Area News Group tapped Storify to cover Obama’s town hall with Linkedin employees.

PR APPLICATION: PR people strive to share great stories, too. Your next op-ed piece could look completely different using Storify. Right now we see it being used for sharing resources, but imagine creating a page about a product and dropping in selected customer feedback from Twitter, YouTube and Facebook–then sending it to all your networks.

Brand Pages on Google+

If Nike says it’s gotta be the shoes, Google would say it’s gotta be the circles. The excitement around the Google+ branded pages results from the idea that engaged brands might see better ad tracking, better search ranking on Google and the ability to create segmented target audiences into circles on Google+. This feature is not available yet, but Google says brand pages are coming soon.

PR APPLICATION: Brands could create unique messages and use this enhanced targeting for reaching segments of their consumer base, i.e. women or men, baby boomers or gen y’ers.  They could have conversations with their industry reporters and their internal experts.

And last, but not least…Failure

I know what you’re thinking:   failure isn’t a tool, but it is.

If you spend too much time thinking about the why, and the ROI you may never try anything. To borrow a tweet from @mbgelman:

“Sometimes it’s quicker and easier to try something than it is to debate about trying something.”

PR APPLICATION: More companies should reward failure – or at least the attempt at innovation.  Failure breeds better ideas. Are you doing anything new and exciting with your communication outreach? More wisdom from an ONA attendee @christopherwink

When you do something groundbreaking, it won’t be comfortable.”

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