Thought Leadership

October 28, 2009

Content for Consumers AND Media

Meredith Topalanchik

This week, Ad Age published a story written by Michael Bush titled, “As Media Market Shrinks, PR Passes Up Reporters, Pitches Directly To Consumers.” Bush notes in the piece that traditional approaches to public relations are challenged now given ongoing shifts in the media landscape — and that “instead of pitching their stories to reporters, a growing number of marketers are directly engaging consumers through original content they and their agencies are creating.”


Creating original content and sharing it directly with consumers is no doubt a growing trend. But I would also argue that we’re not, in fact, “passing up” reporters in favor of going direct to consumers. What we’re actually doing is using this same fresh, brand-created content to connect with both “audiences!”
It’s increasingly difficult to break through the clutter and share ideas with the media. Sure, picking up the phone is still important, but often editors and producers prefer an email pitch. But how many of those do they get a day? Even the most tailored, appropriate, spot-on story idea for the absolutely ideal reporter may simply not be “heard” above the fray.
To further differentiate and strengthen our communication with a specific reporter, blogger, editor, etc., we often include video links to give that individual the opportunity — at his or her leisure – to view a client-created video that adds to and extends the story. This helps to bring a “pitch” more to life, and may in turn inspire that contact to turn the concept we’re sharing into a future story.
The Ad Age story highlights the Coldwell Banker You Tube channel On Location, which we helped to launch earlier this year (an effort led by another great Coldwell Banker agency partner, interactive firm FD Kinesis). While the site is primarily a way for Coldwell Banker to connect directly with consumers, the channel is much more than that for the brand. It offers an outlet for thousands of local Coldwell Banker affiliates to share videos about their town/city, offer tips about buying and selling homes, and even post home listings. Because Coldwell Banker is both open and innovative with this site, we as their PR firm were able to implement a number of ways to leverage the platform to bring timely, news-y content to both consumers and the media.
CooperKatz conceives shoots, edits, etc. a range of Web video for clients including Coldwell Banker, Polar USA and others. And we use the video medium as a way to extend the “narratives” we are telling. For example, recently we created a “man-on-the-street” video called “Real (Estate) Opinions: Men vs. Women,” showcasing a consumer survey that Coldwell Banker fielded that examined how gender might influence the home-buying process.
Here’s another example, where we used video and the On Location platform to turn the interviewing “tables” and get a perspective on the real estate market from Associated Press real estate editor, Noelle Knox.
We link to these kinds of “brand-created” videos in our media outreach and many Web sites and outlets link to them. In addition, the videos that we create for On Location are great for people to share through social networking avenues like Facebook and Twitter.
An essential objective to any successful public relations campaign is improving the communication between a client and its key audiences. When done well, compelling, informative and entertaining videos are just another effective way to engage with members of the press and consumers alike.

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