PR: News aggregation’s biggest benefactor
Melissa Rzeppa spends a lot of time reading news stories and scanning blogs and publications related to her industry for ZooLoo.com, a social networking site where she is marketing and public relations director.
While the journalism industry regards aggregation with mixed emotions, she’s eating it up. “I can go to one or two sites to catch up on what’s going on in the tech and social media industries for ZooLoo, and I can easily see who has recently covered a topic that relates and right away I have my list of contacts to reach out to that day,” she said in an e-mail interview. “That’s a huge time saver for me.”
Then there comes distribution power. “If an aggregator picks up a story that appeared in the New York Times and redistributes it to a whole new set of eyes, I don’t think any PR professional will complain!” she said.
Jason Falls, principal of Social Media Explorer, a social media and public relations consultancy, is an aggregator lover as well, with the keyword being niche. In an e-mail interview, he said “It helps filter the universe of content out there.”
Of course, not understanding the media landscape can make that universe hard to maneuver and utilizing aggregation difficult. “PR professionals are used to media being in compartmentalized, pretty little boxes … Now, there are no compartments. Media is everywhere, created by everybody and the good stuff rises to the top,” Falls said. Those PR people who are aware of this will be set apart from the rest.
The bottom line is that aggregation is a “win-win” situation for everyone if done correctly, said Rzeppa. In agreement with most journalists, she said the aggregator should summarize a story and then link to the original news source. That way, “the original news source benefits from the additional traffic,” she said.
–-Katrina M. Randall
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