Spiked Articles

Profitable PR

Use the right tool for the job - Mix your media for maximum results

By Richard B. Barger, ABC, APR

Originally Posted

Print. On-line. Email. Assuming all channels have the same reach ...

  • Focus of print should be context, depth, deeper knowledge

  • Focus of on-line news should be fast updates

  • Focus of email publications should fall in between -- emphasizing top stories

In a nutshell, that’s how you "integrate your communication messages for maximum power," according to Jerry Stevenson, principal of Stevenson Consulting. We’ve all experienced message overload, but let's put it into perspective:

In 1999, 7.3 billion email messages were sent. Every day. Too many of us use technology because we can. That's the wrong approach. The communicator’s job is to help cut through the noise and clutter of new media and multiple communications channels, to provide clarity, to help push messages through the right channel, to the right audience. That requires using print, on-line news, and email to do what each does best, to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each media channel and blending them together in the right way. What are these strengths and weaknesses?

Print -- Strengths

  • High accessibility

  • High usability -- can take complicated concepts and make them clear

  • Low intrusiveness

Print -- Weaknesses

  • Low efficiency

  • Low interactivity

On-line news -- Strengths

  • Somewhat high accessibility

  • Low intrusiveness

  • High efficiency -- can sort, archive, easy to forward

  • Interactivity -- polling, discussion groups, collaborative work

On-line news -- Weaknesses

  • Mixed usability

  • Mixed humanity

  • Low intrusiveness

Email -- Strengths

  • Somewhat high accessibility

  • High intrusiveness -- Both an advantage and a disadvantage

  • Somewhat high efficiency

  • High interactivity

  • High usability

Email -- Weaknesses

  • Highly intrusive, and lots of it has nothing to do with you

  • Low humanity

Simply using the previous media form in the new medium seems instinctive, but is so futile. Print is best for some things, on-line for others, email for still others. We eventually recognize the strengths and learn what each can do well and use that. Follow these guidelines. Tips for print:

  • Stop publishing “fast” news

  • Start focusing on depth and trends

  • Take advantage of space and layout to illustrate concepts -- relationships between complex pieces of information are easier to see in print

  • Hyperlink your print to other media

Tips for on-line news:

  • Don’t name the publication “Print Pub On Line” -- the mission should be different; make it a distinct channel

  • Do not follow a news cycle

  • Provide a simple, integrated source of news from around your company -- a single news portal for your entire company

  • Engage the audience in discussion or interaction -- make sure the discussion is where the issue is raised; people want to talk about an issue when they’ve encountered it, not way off someplace else in its own section of your site

  • Leave long, in-depth material to print -- but feel free to archive your print publication on line

  • Look for all sources of news that are worthwhile to employees

  • Consider content from external providers

  • Hyperlink to print and email

Tips for email:

  • Control global distribution lists

  • Establish an email publication to cut down on company-wide email

    • Provide a table of contents, quick abstracts, links

    • Include a variety of content

    • Use click-through measures

New media have changed the older media. If you're a savvy communicator, you'll take heed and orchestrate a mix of media that delivers maximum results. Additional information on integrating communications and technology is available from Stevenson Consulting.

Join The Discussion

We will never post your email address publicly; it's used solely as part of our verification process to keep the spammers under control. After submitting your comment or question, you'll receive an email confirmation message with a link back to CornerBarPR.com® that you'll need to click before your post appears for others to see. By submitting this post you agree to the CornerBarPR.com Terms Of Service.