When you decide to create a blog, or even a website that handles news and reviews there is going to come a time when you are not only reporting what you read on other peoples websites but you want to get details from the source instead. Whether this is an entertainment site, technology site or a site based on any subject you will want to provide information quicker and without opinion of others.
This is when you move onto dealing with PR companies that handle the “press” interactions between companies and the news outlets looking for the latest released information. Whether you have the journalistic credentials or are doing the task as a hobby, the world of “media” is changing, the term “new media” is used a lot for this new way method of news making and it’s having quite an impact on how people find out about their favourite topics. I will add a disclaimer of sorts here just to say, these thoughts are my own and may differ from the thoughts of others.
How to Work with PR
Depending on the size of your website/blog you often find that you’ve already talked to people who are in the PR industry and been offered the latest news. PR companies actively look for outlets now that have a big enough audience and offer to add these people to their mailing lists. These lists are basically a way to send out mass press releases to all the media outlets that have requested news on set topics.
Added to these lists are often other lists that handle so called “review opportunities” which is very much the next stage in the relationship with a PR company, or can be a different company altogether. Companies have a set amount of products that they can allow reviewers to view, use, and test so that reviews can be created based on these findings. It’s up to the PR company representative to work with the blogger/journalist to get publicity and reviews for the product. Of course they would love to have all positive reviews, but even bad reviews is exposure. It’s a balancing act, and one that at times can be questioned (as is very evident in game journalism right now).
Some will read this and already know about how the PR company “thing” works, but there are others who want to create websites/blogs or are just starting and are lost on the matter, the best way to find out is to observe social media, learn how other sites do it and of course find the actual PR companies and see who their clients are. There are also other factors too but the most important thing is arguably good content and a high number of unique users, this is why using statistics for your site is very important. If you want to have credibility when trying to impress somebody into letting you review their products? You have to show that you have a big enough readership to actually have an impact and get the product noticed.
There is another side too, and this is more complicated and that is the balance of a review. As mentioned PR companies do want to get good reviews and will work to get them. The question of course is as a reviewer if you feel you are being pushed to write a review that disagrees with your own opinions then this is the time to re-think what you are writing. This of course touches on the subject of the “incentives” to write good reviews. To be respected you have to write your own opinion and make a good argument, you have to show the weakness of the product and praise the positives, it’s all about a balance and you just have to find yours.
The fact is when you decide that you want to write reviews and write news items on something that interests you, it’s a fun thing to do. If you have a dream of having a huge site that has thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of readers then you are going to have a huge task on your hands. This will take lots of writing, probably getting more writers to join in on the work on your site and a lot of communication with PR companies that will be ready to provide you with information. PR companies are invaluable sources for information and although there is a negative view sometimes on the level of influence they are believed to have, it is down to the journalist/blogger/writer to keep their objectivity and be true to themselves. PR companies provide you with the information you need to write the pieces for your website/blog not to shape your opinion. The key is to keep your own balanced view, be as professional as you can and do your best. The chances are you just may make that break through you were hoping for and more importantly stay true to yourself and your readers.