What PR can learn from Interactive agencies

The last week has been all a buzz with the release of the first Social Media Press Release in Canada (according to Ed Lee) by Weblo & High Road Communications, and with the announcement of the new Edelman CMS for social media news releases.

I think SNR is a great idea. I applaud it… I’m glad communicators are taking the lead in engaging their audience. But… (and it’s a big one) PR agencies venturing into web development and Interactive marketing would do well to learn the lessons Interactive Ad agencies did over the last 10 years. I recognize it’s a new field, this social media stuff, and we’re each trying to find our way, but the nature and shape of the programming behind the web hasn’t changed.

The biggest issue with both releases is fundamental – they don’t follow Internet standards.

Neither follow W3C guidelines. Not only is this bad form for a website, it also defeats a part of the very purpose the release was developed for: to communicate broadly across all channels. By not coding the sites properly, both stand a huge chance of not being indexed correctly by the search engines. How does that help the client?

If PR is going to continue leading the charge in the social media/ interactive space, I suggest getting serious about the tech – in all its forms.

[photo credit: Simon Pow on Flickr]

[h/t - Strumpette & Ed Lee]

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Comments (6) to “What PR can learn from Interactive agencies”

  1. [...] I enjoyed a fruitful discussion today with Dave Knight, an integral member of iStudio’s technical development and design team. The discussion was sparked by a well thought-out post from Tamera over at the (3i) blog. Tamera was commenting on the merits of a pioneering social media news release we launched earlier in the week and pointed out that the page was not “W3C compliant”. Sounds bad, eh? [...]

  2. Thanks for your post and for raising the associated W3C compliance thoughts. It makes for an interesting discussion. You should be happy to know that I had one such interesting discussion with Dave Knight, one of iStudio’s resident experts on online standards, among other technical / design things. Unfortunately, the chat was much too detailed to summarize in the comments. Fortunately, I just posted about it on our blog. I hope you have a chance to check it out and add further to the discussion. Beware: many of our readers may not have your level of tech / coding knowledge, so some cheesy analogies may lie ahead. Thanks again!

  3. [...] Recent Comments iStudio » Trackback? on Ads on blogs?Mike Driehorst on How do you run?(3i) » What PR can learn from Interactive agencies on Canada’s first SNR?mathewingram.com/media » What’s the future? We don’t know on Canada’s first SNR?Ed Lee on No RSS? No Problem! [...]

  4. Hi Neil, thanks for the response, I’ll repost here my response originally posted to your blog:

    Unfortunately I think this issue goes beyond the analogies you’ve listed here. I disagree that standards are like peanut butter Рthey have been developed and refined and agreed upon by experts for decades and are fundamental to how technologies interact with each other.

    Tech also has set certain standards for interactive marketing, including indexing by search engines, which are fundamental in communications. The page developed for the Weblo press release wasn’t simply ‘mixing things up a bit’ in terms of coding, it was built using framesets which are unreadable to search engine bots. If you go to the PR release page there is a ton of content that I assume High Road and iStudio wants to be included in search engine rankings, most notably Google.

    Unfortunately, if you right click on the page and “view source” you will see what Google sees Рa blank page. The only meta tags are those for the HTML editor you used: Frontpage. The remainder of the page is a frame.

    Even if it was decided strategically that the site would be built using frames, meta descriptors and keywords should be mandatory for any press release on the web as best practices to ensure the communication is disseminated broadly.


  5. Point taken. Just to clarify, this wasn’t a case of us “mixing it up”. Rather, this was one of those instances that I refer to as “uncontrollable circumstances”. We’re familiar with the challenges that framesets present, but it was unavoidable this time around. Again, thanks for taking the time to discuss.


  6. [...] We talk a good game, sure. Be transparent. Be authentic. Listen. Engage in a conversation. But as soon as push comes to shove too many take the easy way out. Why reach out to the community when you can just pretend to be the community? And when called out on it? Rewrite history. It’s even gotten to the point where public announcements can be made that appear to be easily contradicted by fact. [...]

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