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PR & the iPad

Mobile technology has changed the way the media can be consumed in a big way. But the iPad revolutionized the industry with its flashy display, capabilities and mobility. Since its advent, media outlets have rushed to create apps in order to reach the iPad’s audience. The tablet even inspired iPad-only publications like News Corporation’s The Daily, which epitomizes this digital and mobile-driven media world. But what has been the impact on the PR industry aside from increased portability? Christina Dempsey, account coordinator and digital media strategist with Florida-based Sara Brady Public Relations, weighed in.

inVocus: How has the iPad impacted the way you do your job?

CD: Media is working 24/7, which means so are we. The faster and easier you can get a clear picture of the top stories of the day, the better prepared you are to take advantage of news opportunities. I read the headlines on my iPad in the morning before I even have the printed paper in my hand.

inVocus: How often would you say you use it for your profession? How do you use it specifically?

CD: I carry it with me just about everywhere I go. I track coverage of our clients and related industries with an RSS reader and Google Alerts, and with customized sections on Zite, the personalized magazine app. I keep clips through Evernote. And I manage our social media efforts while off-site using HootSuite, although I much prefer TweetDeck and wish they would make an app for the iPad.

Dropbox is invaluable… I load it up like a media kit with press releases, media lists, and fact sheets, as well as all of the files I am currently working on so I can edit them from home. I also use Pages and Keynote to edit documents on the fly and the AIM app to stay in touch with my team while I am out of the office.

I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I use it to take notes in meetings though; I still like using paper and pen in front of clients.

inVocus: How do the iPad, social media and PR mix?

CD: Social media is a great tool for monitoring trends and general community sentiment. It’s also a fast-paced medium that prefers quick responses so an on-the-go tool like the iPad is valuable.

inVocus: Has the media’s adaption of the iPad and the development of media iPad apps changed the way you pitch certain outlets? If so, how?

CD: We still pitch stories with solid angles…it won’t matter whether it goes out on a digital platform or not if the story isn’t strong, timely and newsworthy. The story itself matters, first and foremost, and that will never change.

The part that has changed is that reporters are thinking about the possible digital components of their stories before they even pitch their editors. So PR pros have to both convey the newsworthiness and point out the digital media opportunities, even for newspaper reporters. Pictures, video, etc. All of those aspects need to be considered now.

inVocus: Do you think publications with iPad apps allow your message to be distributed on a wider scale? If so, why?

CD: iPad apps certainly help reach a wider audience. People who get their news from online sources tend to be a pretty separate group from those who get their news via print. For example, our local newspaper, the Orlando Sentinel, only has 19 to 20 percent overlap between people who regularly read the paper and those who regularly read news on their website.

I don’t think we’re at a point where a majority of the population is getting all of their news digitally, and I’m not convinced that we will get to that point anywhere in the near future, but there is a whole group of people who do not subscribe to the printed paper and only receive news via digital sources. The New York Times’ paywall efforts are a response to this.

inVocus: How does the launch of iPad-only outlets like The Daily impact your campaigns? Are they desirable platforms to pitch?

CD: The Daily is amazing, I’m a subscriber myself! It has set the standard for digital news outlets, with a small but highly engaged audience that is growing. The Daily has tremendous potential. As it stands now, content is limited so pitching must be much more strategic, but they are not an outlet to overlook.

— Katrina M. Mendolera


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