In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter 12 discusses the new media and the world wide web. It starts off the chapter by discussing the differences of the traditional media characteristics and the new media characteristics. One characteristic of traditional media is that it is mostly one way communication so there is limited feedback. The new media discussed in the chapter is more interactive and I think that it makes it more important for PR professionals and organizations to utilize because it gives them more opportunities to listen to what consumers are saying.
The chapter goes on to writing for the web. It is important when writing for the web to remember to basic concepts. 1) People read differently online than they read in print documents. It takes 50% of people longer to read from the computer screen than print materials. 79% of readers just scan the information, so you need to make it appealing to them so they actually read it all. 2) Writers for the web need to know the difference between linear and non linear writing. Printed is linear while the web is non linear. For non linear writing, items can be selected out of order.
While writing for the web it is important to understand the format too. The sentences are fewer than 20 words. Paragraphs contain 2-3 sentences and the topics are usually covered in 2-3 paragraphs. Some other advice the book gives is to write the way you talk, limit the topic to one per page, utilize bullet lists and provide feedback options for readers.
When designing a website the most important advice I got from the book was to have a vision or something you want to accomplish from website. Another piece of information they provided was to think about the audience and their needs. When writing or designing something the audience should always be in your mind because it is their opinions that matter most.
When designing a website it is vital to know what made consumers go back to other websites. There are four main reasons that visitors return to websites: 1) high quality content 2) easy to use 3) quick to download 4) Frequent updates. I think frequent updates are extremely important because it makes the reader feel like you are actively involved and I know when I see websites that are extremely outdated, the company or organization looses credibility to me. The website should also be interactive for users. Like I pointed out earlier, new media is interactive and traditional media was almost always one way communication. People like to feel included so having an accessible website that makes consumers feel involved is important for success. Along with making it interactive, this makes consumers utilize the pull concept. They can pull information from your website that is the most relevant to them so it is like they are choosing. In contrast is the push concept, which traditional media utilized. The push concept delivered information to you without active participation. This is like TV, Magazines, Newspapers, and even E-mails sent to you.
Another important part of the chapter was the return on investment section. How much is the website costing you compared to what would be done by other means. It is one of the best ways to measure online success which is obviously important. If the website is costing you a lot of money to run but is not providing the change you intended it to, it is not doing it’s job and may not be worth the hassle and the cost.
Webcasting is becoming more popular by the minute. More than 90% of companies use webcasts for things such as employee training, briefings for financial analysts, and news conferences launching new products. These can save them time and money but when using them companies should remember two important aspects: 1)Quality and 2) Understanding computer capabilities of intended audience.
Social media is everywhere and because the new media is interactive social media is growing extremely fast. It has changed the landscape for PR because it allows them to be more focused on listening in order to facilitate conversations between organizations and their consumers. Social media allows people to share their opinions, insights, experiences and perspectives with each other online. Blogs, Myspace, Facebook, and Youtube can all be used to companies advantage and should be used by PR professionals.
Blogs may be the most important for PR professionals to utilize in my opinion because they have the power to allow the blogger to gain reputation for credibility and breaking news stories. Blogs are often used by journalists to generate story ideas which is important for PR professionals because they need to get their stories into the media and passed the gatekeepers such as journalists. Blogs heavily influence todays news coverage and should be utilized as a powerful tool by PR professionals.
The most important thing to me in the chapter was the section on blogging. We have been told over and over again on how blogging can help us in so many ways as PR professionals. Reading the textbook and understanding how much potential blogs have to help your career as a PR professional was an eye opener. Blogs are booming and being used for many different reasons. Blogging,if done right, can help an individual land the job or set them apart from other candidates interviewing for the position. Blogs are also important because they allow interactive communication between organizations and their publics. It gives PR professionals a chance to listen at what is being said about their clients products or services and the ability to change the negative feedback into the positive by providing changes consumers suggest.