20 April 2005

PR latency

I read an interesting article in WebproNews yesterday by PR and blogosphere man, Jeremy Pepper. Called, "It's about Content, Stupid!" (you can read it on his blog) , it argues that PR companies and PR depts in large corporations are not making enough of RSS to get their message out. He points outs that for most journalists whose in-trays are overflowing with emailed releases and spam, RSS newsfeeds are the perfect vehicle for marketing communications teams to get their message across in a non-pushy format.

I've posted a comment about the problem of latency and how better use of RSS feeds would help. It drives me mad that only a handful of large companies in the travel sector and their external PR companies make realtime use of their digital distribution assets.... or in other words, post their statements, briefings and releases on their websites immediately.

On a daily basis I come across travel industry news stories that seem worth investigating. Quite often a search reveals variations on the story from different outlets but with large chunks of almost identical copy - a sure sign that the company involved has issued a press release - but if you look on their corporate website (the first port of call) the most up to date item turns out to be a product launch or financial statement from two months ago! So now you have to start phoning the press office to chase it. Which means you are now working on their timescale. My short item could have been half-written and just waiting for a quote or something before being published in an hour's time. Sadly, their press office is still working at 20th century printing press speed and doesn't get back to you or email the info till last thing in the afternoon or next day....!

PRs have to get better at this. Posting information promptly will become increasingly important if companies are not to be viewed by the media as lumbering dinosaurs. RSS feeds won't directly solve the problem above - unless I happen to subscribe to that particular feed - but it will help to re-enforce the idea that information has to be immediately available.

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