Blogs and newspapers are getting cozier

October 9, 2007

Bloggers are receiving recognition from the traditional press as “legitimate” news practitioners more and more these days.  This article from LATimes.com discusses the latimes-logo.gifcurrent trend of many media outlets to adopt the philosophy of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em –and get some revenue while you’re at it”. Newspaper print circulation numbers have been dropping off, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the impact of the blogosphere’s proliferation.

Some traditional news organizations are still not quite on board with the whole idea of bloggers as journalists:

The blurred lines make many uneasy. “There’s a lot of uninformed opinion on the Internet and not a lot of solid reporting,” said Fred Brown, vice chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethics committee and a columnist at the Denver Post. A professional journalist “respects the truth and lives up to standards of ethics. Certainly that isn’t the case in the blogosphere.”

To that, I would say “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  Nevertheless, it’s clear that blogs play a recognizable, important role in the dissemination of news and other information.  Readers looking for content and information have more choices than ever to which to turn for a variety of sources, perspectives, and opinions.  I have to think the result is more dialogue, and a better informed public.

What does it mean for film publicity?  It means that a publicity campaign for a film must include bloggers in the grouping of “press”.  It means press releases must be written and formatted for SEO and distributed accordingly.   It means potential for exponentially increased exposure for your film.

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Press Releases: Not just for the press, for everyone.

August 19, 2007

Back in the day, before Web 2.0, news about films (as well as practically everything else) was sent via press releases to various news outlets, who then published articles about the films.  Hardly anyone who wasn’t a journalist read press releases.   Nowadays, everyone is surfing the Internet for press releases, rather than just relying on traditional news outlets.  With the proliferation of Internet newswires like PRnewswire.com (among many other newswire services) and RSS, everyone, not just journalists, can get first-hand news by reading press releases.

David Meerman Scott, one of my favorite experts on marketing in the era of Web 2.0, has written some insightful information explaining the movement of press releases away from the exclusive domain of journalists, and encouraging those who write press releases to write them for everyone to read, not just journalists.

Studios are getting on board with this concept. Chris Thilik points out, in a piece he recently wrote for Brandweek, that Sony Pictures now has a public press room with press releases, downloadable posters, corporate logos, and still photos, for their slate of upcoming holiday films. As Chris points out, they’re lacking a RSS feed, which may limit their exposure, since more and more people (including me) depend on RSS nowadays to get news. Still, it’s a bold move.  And about time!

The indie house, Yari Film Group, is also trying to get with the Web 2.0 program. They have an RSS feed for their blog and are running their own RSS feed containing news from other sources about their films. Yes, their blog and their press page are woefully out of date. Their online marketing department had a recent switch in personnel, but I know their new department head will soon have things back in tip top shape. The point is, they’re trying. How many production companies have blogs, RSS feeds, and offer readers the ability to not only get info about their filmmakers, but also leave feedback?

When preparing an announcement of the latest news about your film, remember that press releases should be written for everyone to read. Sure, you want journalists to pick up your release. Having Variety write an article about your film would be a good thing! Everyone else (bloggers, people hanging out on MySpace, FaceBook and other social networking sites) can also write about and discuss your film. Make sure your press releases are also written for them, and acessible to them.

Tip: Press releases on films are not read just by journalists, everyone reads them.
Talk: Do you have press releases about your film up on the Web? Post the link in comments and I’ll feature it in a future post.