Monday, May 18, 2009

Do you plan your online strategy in the same way you plan your media strategy?

Typically government and commercial media teams spend time identifying publications and journalists that have the most appropriate audiences for an organisation's products and services.

They commit energy to building constructive relationships with those that have influence over the members of the public they are trying to engage, tailoring stories to suit their individual needs.

Why do media teams spend time building relationships with parts of the media? Because it works.

Good working relationships improve outcomes for all of the parties involved - the organisation, the media team, the journalist, media outlet and the ultimate audience.

So if this approach works for offline media, does it work online?

My answer is an unequivocal YES.

If organisations cultivate relationships with key bloggers and forums, tailor information for websites that attract appropriate audiences and commit to ongoing research to identify where they should concentrate their efforts, they will achieve better communications and engagement outcomes.


Conversely, few organisations would follow their current online strategy in offline media. This would involve the organisation producing their own departmental or company newspaper or radio station for the public, then refusing to engage with any other news media.

Unfortunately this is the thinking and approach many government and commercial organisations follow with their websites.

They invest large resources into developing a single 'owned' destination where they expect their customers to come for information and discussion.

They invest little into reaching out to other websites, forums, blogs and social networks - even where these 'media outlets' already attract the audience that the department or company wishes to reach.

This approach is unsustainable and impractical in the long run and will fail to meet organisational goals.

Monitoring audiences, build relationships and engaging with appropriate outlets works for online media at least as well as it does for offline.

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