Online Resources For Your PR Tool Kit

With spring in the air (somewhere), our thoughts tend to scatter (despite the workload). So to help us stay focused, I’ve surveyed some of the sharpest tools out there in cyberspace right now for the PR professional.

Your Help Needed by ThePRNetwork.com

Seems we professional communicators have been remiss in updating our free company listings on the leading PR/communications portal, which is ranked in the top one percent of one million dot-coms by Alexa. Fewer than half the 5000+ firms in the Network database have been updated with search terms, so prospective clients are complaining. For a monthly $5.95 fee, one can even buy extra keywords. The PRNetwork publishes a useful newsletter, employment opportunities, and offers numerous links. The site design, however, is somewhat kludgy.

Freebie for Newbies

An online glossary of terms recently reached me, compliments of a direct mail campaign by eYada. If you are new to cyberspace or just want succinct definitions of common terms, from address to cookie to zone, email advertising@yada.com.

Web-Based Tools: PR’s Online Ginzu Knife

Enterprise resource planning (watch that jargon) tools from Vocus help PR departments manage relationships with key external audiences. PRality Professional is a web-based solution designed for active PR groups, enabling them to manage PR collateral, create and publish to one’s press center on the web, create lists from a national database, distribute news, automate a clippings collection, field media opportunities, provide web access to remote or traveling personnel, build media profiles, and create summary reports. It all leaves me breathless, but offers more proof that migration to web-based apps is the wave to catch.

Searching the Search Engines

Easy-to-use InvisibleWeb.com organizes 10,000 search engines into 18 subject categories covering popular, general and academic topics. The engine’s detailed classification of subjects reduces search time to target. Or hit the Hot List button for the top five engines in a given category.

A Patented News Service

If you’re dealing with patents in cyberspace or want to catch up with the competition, the free Internet Patent News Service provides a comprehensive review of news, filings, patents issued, and, of course, suits. Free subscriptions to the daily news service may be requested at www.patents@world.std.com.

Sixth Media in Cyberspace Study

Highlights of the Sixth Annual Middleberg Associates study of Media in Cyberspace:

  • 75 percent of journalists go online daily (up from 48 percent)

  • Journalists spend 8.7 hours/week online, including 4.7 at home.
  • 52 percent hunt images from the Net (double from ’99)
  • Nearly two-thirds read online publications
  • 25 percent use instant messaging
  • More than half participate in email dialogues.

No wonder the office phones are so quiet these days. Need to know more? Email Lindsay@middleberg.com .

Integrating Email and Online Press Centers

Here’s another “pull” media play that heralds the arrival of Internet PR and media relations, an increasingly crowded corner of cyberspace. Post all your information and visuals in your own press box, then drive media there with targeted emails containing links.

CorporateNews.com closes the communications loop with client-owned press centers and supports the communications model most frequently requested by the media deliver short, to-the-point messages with easy access to in-depth information if desired. Nice set of links, too.

Who’s Got Rich… Media?

We’re not there yet in terms of rich media usage online, according to recent Media Metrix numbers. Adding RealPlayer, Quicktime and Windows Media Player together, 16.7 million Americans tuned in to a rich online experience last November. And a standard is still in the future.

Heard on the Street

From the Ad-Marketing@Listserv: Which is more credible, PRNewswire or Business Wire? Some say PRNewire has superior clients and media lists; as for respectability, BusinessWire may have an edge (what’s in a name, right?). Price is a burden with both, so consider Digitalwork, which distributes to its own circuit and feeds BusinessWire for the same price.

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