Search evolves to PR pros’ benefit

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Photo courtesy fdecomite via Flickr

Photo courtesy fdecomite via Flickr

Does the battle between Google and “Microhoo” (Microsoft and Yahoo’s new search partnership) have implications for how communications professionals find mentions of their brands and gauge influence online? If anything, it means that the results of a Google search may no longer present the defining picture of your organization’s Web presence, or that of a journalist with whom you’re interested in developing a professional relationship.

But a separate, subtler change is occurring in the way PR pros search the Web that has nothing to do with the much-hyped faceoff between giant tech companies: we’re increasingly interested in search results from an ever-growing group of important social sites, which can be time-consuming to pull together one site-specific search at a time.

When you’re trying to determine which media contacts might be most interested in your product or service, a good old-fashioned Web search on Google or Bing is never a bad idea. But the top results of that search will not give you a complete picture of how that journalist’s content fares on social news sites like Digg, which have come to rival traditional news sites for mindshare.  You may also want to keep up with what they’re saying on Twitter or other social sites.

The CisionPoint public relations software tool now includes search results from these sites and others, including LinkedIn, for individual journalists. Increasingly, understanding a journalist’s presence in a particular online community is as important to understanding their preferences as watching their overall footprint as displayed in a broad Web search. How are you using the social Web to understand what journalists want?

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