Rock Products

JAN 2012

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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Tweeting the Press Release Social Media Makes it Possible to Give Your Press Release a Life Beyond Print. By Thomas J. Roach Thanks to social media, your press re‐ leases are no longer completely de‐ pendent on news editors. It is still valuable to write a release about how you donated sand to the Little League, hired a new quarry manager or worked at the plant 365 days without a lost‐time accident. That might get picked up by a newspaper, but now blog sites and Twitter make it possi‐ ble to give the press release a life be‐ yond print. Once the release has been written and sent to the traditional media list, it can be posted on the company website, Facebook page or blog. Then a few words about the story can be sent out on Twitter with a link back to the re‐ lease wherever it is posted. When composing the Twitter mes‐ sage, it is probably best to use the for‐ mat of a headline or lead sentence: have a verb and refer to the most in‐ teresting part of the story. It is also advantageous to leave enough room at the end of the tweet so people re‐ tweeting the message to their friends can add their own message. This is a revolutionary step for public relations, because it means that peo‐ ple who might not read the story in the newspaper or hear it on the radio or television will still have access to it, and the release has a life of its own even if it isn't picked up by traditional print or broadcast channels. Of course, newspapers more than any other medium lend credibility to a story. So, if a news release gets picked up by a newspaper, tweeting a link to the story on the newspaper's website is even more desirable that just tweet‐ ing the link to a company site. 32 ROCKproducts • JANUARY 2012 Twitter Twitter accounts are easy to estab‐ lish. Once an organization has acti‐ vated its account, it then needs to build up connections with key publics. This is done by notifying the publics of the new Twitter account by using other media. Employees can be notified through an internal newspaper or an intranet site. For quarries that have potential is‐ sues with encroaching housing, a key public is people living close to the mining operation. They can be noti‐ fied with an ad in the newspaper, fly‐ ers or postcards. A particularly efficient method might be a billboard in or near the target neighborhood. Another important method for estab‐ lishing a Twitter network is to search for and connect to members of the tar‐ geted public who already have their own Twitter accounts. When people see that someone is monitoring their Twitter posts, they usually reciprocate by monitoring the accounts of the peo‐ ple who are monitoring them. Not everyone is accessing information through Twitter, but with diverse groups like neighbors and employees, it is likely that at least some percentage will have Twitter accounts. Even though that group might be small at first, they will become secondary chan‐ nels to get to the other members of the group. People connected to the organi‐ zation through Twitter can get infor‐ mation that they tweet or email or just talk about with others who are not monitoring company communication. Balanced Understanding One common problem with all busi‐ nesses, particularly quarries, is that Thomas J. Roach, Ph.D., has 30 years ex- perience in communication as a journal- ist, media coordinator, communication director and consultant. He has taught at Purdue University Calumet since 1987, and is the author of "An Interviewing Rhetoric." He can be reached at thomasjroach@gmail.com. people only hear about them when they get into a public conflict over something like zoning or noise pollu‐ tion. Having Twitter connections into community groups makes it more likely that key publics will have a bal‐ anced understanding of an organiza‐ tion that provides jobs, participates in civic events, and donates resources to help the community. If a company is taking an active, sup‐ portive role in the community, and if it already has an apparatus for talking about its contributions by putting out news releases and posting on websites, then Twitter is an important next step. For the most part, the opportunity presented by social media like Twitter does not change the practice of public relations. One still has to start with a newsworthy story, turn it into a news story, and send it out or post it. Twit‐ ter just makes the process more effi‐ cient by alerting more people to the message. E www.rockproducts.com

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