The micropayment and future of newspapers debate continued on Charlie Rose last night. Mort Zuckerman, the billionaire owner of the New York Daily News and editor of the US News & World Report discussed the topic with Charlie, Walter Isaacson (still on the press trail) and Robert Thomson of the Wall Street Journal.
Interesting quote from Thomson:
“Dead trees are definitely not dead. There is no doubt that in the modern age of content relationships, there is an absolute intensity to the relationship between a reader and a newspaper. Given the Web surfing, ad skipping, channel changing consciousness that is out there; the idea of spending 30 minutes with any medium (The only multi-tasking you are doing is drinking a cup of coffee). That does make newspapers unique. If you talk with ad people they are starting to recognize it.”
These major online players (leaving out many other digital outlets / blogs), have been joined in their online coverage of the B2B area by the New York Times, BusinessWeek (here and here), Fortuneand even the Wall Street Journal (Although only occasionally that Digits covers non-consumer tech).
With all of this editorial space moving online, any B2B company looking to garner market penetration and product buzz in the space must have a sound media relations strategy for the Web. This includes both media relations (for those writers who consider themselves true journalists – albeit mostly online) and digital media relations work (for those bloggers, who enjoy the freedom(s) which the blogosphere allots them).
That combined with a true social media strategy, in terms of participation within blogs, social communities and the twittersphere (Although I believe Twitter provides bigger value to consumer facing companies) is a powerful combination for maximizing PR results (i.e. brand and product awareness, generating site traffic and ultimately influencing current and prospective customers).
However, With the focus shifting towards building relationships with these Web-centric reporters and bloggers – who work on a 1,440-minute news cycles, fostering meaningful relationships with key business media targets (who still focus mostly on 24 hour print coverage) can sometimes be overlooked.
Yes, the business press have opened up new avenues to get their ear, with their own blogs and their openness to connect through LinkedIn and Facebook. However, most still remain elusive and without allocating the time to build relationships and get in front of them physically, they remain somewhat untouchable.
Most companies express a natural desire to be in the business press, but for those companies that have shifted their full attention to getting a shout-out on TechCrunch, let me present a brief example of why it’s so important for B2B corporations to continue investing time (and $ in their agency) in cultivating relationships with key business press targets that may not provide immediate RESULTS, but could bear major fruit down the road. BTW – In my opinion, “results” is today’s PR buzzword, which differs from those who attended Davos.
As part of a recent product launch and corporate strategy change for a B2B client (although Web 2.0 oriented), we were recently tasked with strategizing and executing a successful media campaign. Given that it is a SaaS provider, they were interested in maximizing digital results. However, this particular client has always been in-tuned to the true value of a positive business piece. With a big business press piece being our focus, we utilized relationships that we’ve cultivated over the years with reporters at the Journal (On both coasts) to get our client physically in-front of them (On both coasts) in advance of the launch.
Long story, short – after managing an embargo date and arranging additional interviews with third-party sources and customers, our client was featured in a very positive story in the Journal.
I take you through this short story, because the business results witnessed by this one piece would be very hard to replicate through one or several digital “hits” in major blogs or even through an online story at BusinessWeek.com or at NYTimes.com.
A 280% increase in traffic to the homepage
A 500% increase in views of the new product on the Webpage
Re-engagement from prospective customers that had gone cold
Most importantly, 3-4 inbound business leads from companies on their top-ten prospect list (Fortune 500 companies)
While I’m a firm believer that marketing and public relations is evolving digitally and that all brands must participate and shift focus online if they want to avoid becoming irrelevant; major business coverage still drives the results companies crave from their marketing and public relations programs.
Building public relations programs that encompass both digital media relations and true business media strategy, will continue to be crucial for the foreseeable future. The Journal (in all its print glory)still moves markets.