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Social Media Portal - Profiled - Michael Pranikoff - PR Newswire

Staff (Social Media Portal) - 15 July 2009

Profiled - PR Newswire - The press release distribution service

An interview Michael Pranikoff, Director, Emerging Media at PR Newswire

PR Newswire logoPR Newswire talks to SMP about press release, social media and public relations professionals

Social Media Portal (SMP): What is your full job title and role at PR Newswire?

Michael Pranikoff (MP): Michael Pranikoff, Director, Emerging Media

SMP: Briefly, tell us about PR Newswire and its target audience

MP: PR Newswire is one of the largest global communicators of corporate and organisational messaging in the world. Our target audience is really whomever our clients are trying to reach, which would also include online and search visibility.Photograph of Michael Pranikoff, Director, Emerging Media at PR Newswire 

SMP: What was the most challenging part of building the service?

MP: PR Newswire has been in business for more than 50 years, so I can only talk about my last 12 years. One of the most challenging parts of our business is keeping up with the pace of technology, and trying to predict future needs of our clients. An example of this would be our Multimedia News Release (MNR) service which launched in 2001 Ė far before anyone was talking about Social Media or Social Media Releases (SMR).  We did our first one with Touchstone Pictures for the movie ďPearl HarborĒ in May 2001.

SMP: Who are your target audience and why?

: The target audience for our news varies with every news release or message we distribute for our clients. We have a wide range of ways that clients can target their audience both online and within traditional media.

SMP: How did you initially attract users to your service, and how do you do it now?

SMP: What separates your services to others out in the market?

: There are many things about PR Newswire that separates us from similar services. Weíve invested heavily in multiple technologies, partnerships, and research to develop new products that go beyond just online distribution. All this has been done to help our clients target, distribute, monitor and measure their communications.

As a company that has been in business for more than 50 years we have developed well established relationships with our clients, and the media. Those relationships have helped us to distribute our content deeper into online and social media in a more organic way. Our business has always been about relationships and service to our clients and our media clients Ė which today includes anyone who is interested in the viewing, or using, the news and messages we distribute.

SMP: What are the low moments of what you have been doing so far?

MP: I would say that a low moment is the fascination with new and sparkly objects. Some people look at the newswire industry and perceive it to be old, stodgy and something of the past, without looking deeper into the technology that we use and the breadth and depth of what we offer..

SMP: What are the high moments of what you have been doing so far?

The high moments are the launches of new services like PR Newswireís Social Media Monitoring tool, and when we do something innovative for our clients.  However, I would say that we have high moments almost every day, when a client distributes a piece of breaking news that gets  television coverage and media discussion., One day itís on Twitter and then the next, itís on the cover of major newspapers and magazines across the world.

SMP: What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities in the press distribution market?

MP: The biggest challenge we face is with the changing pace of communications.  There is always going to be something new. Trying to stay on top of evolving technology, as well as predicting whatís going to be next is a huge but important challenge. Itís imperative we stay up to speed on the latest technology, without minimising the tried and tested methods. Not every industry is going to want or need social media to the same extent. Industries will adapt in their communications over time, but we still want to be able to service our clientsí needs fully.

SMP: What are the dedicated social media services that you offer your clients?

MP: There are a lot of different facets of social media throughout our product offerings. We canít necessarily distribute directly into social media, but we do make our clients content easy to access, share, view, and use, with social media. Itís that thinking that permeates everything we do Ė which is making our content as searchable and social as possible. We do have dedicated services like PR Newswireís Social Media Monitoring and Multimedia News Releases.  However, we have aspects of social media across our platform in other ways, with our Social Media Toolbar displayed on every release, and even including Twitter Handles of Media in our MEDIAtlas Database.

SMP: What are the benefits for your customers using the social media services?

MP: The benefits to our clients in using our social media capabilities are that they help  make their news and messages more visible to their desired audiences. However, itís more than increasing the visibility of their news, itís also about making their news useable to those audiences, so they can easily share text, photos and videos on Facebook, or Twitter, or in a blog post.

SMP: What are your thoughts on the social media press release?

MP: I think thereís been a lot of discussion about the social media press release over the last few years. I donít think that itís rocket science though. Itís just a slightly different method or format for sending out press releases. The press release has always been about focusing on a message that someone is trying to communicate. Today, the SMPR (or in the case of our product line Ė the MNR) is an update to the traditional press release with new technology embedded into it, to make it more useable to the audience. Should all news be in this format? Iím not sure that is for me to say. I would say that if someone has the elements to include, then it makes sense. There is no ďone size fits allĒ solution.

SMP: Many bloggers donít like receiving press releases, how do you help your clients connect with bloggers?

: Itís funny because we hear this not just from bloggers, but also from traditional media all the time. I think the real issue is that blogger (and traditional media) donít like to receive untargeted press releases. Itís just like most people donít like to receive spam. In terms of connecting your news with a blogger, we have dedicated Media Relations teams that make sure our press releases reach the appropriate audience. PR is not about spamming, itís about developing quality relationships.  

SMP: What other support services do you offer clients?

MP: PR Newswire offers a full range of services to globally help clients target, distribute, monitor and measure the effectiveness of their communications activities.

SMP: Whatís the next big step for social media and networks and what impact is this having upon press releases?

MP: Trying to predict the next big step for social media and networks and its impact on the press release or the PR profession is a very difficult thing. We have gradually been moving in the direction of shorter messaging on a much quicker base. We are seeing the flattening of the Marketing / Communications architecture in corporations all over the world. The impact on press releases is a quicker and sometimes rapid fire communications pattern. Some might say that blogging is already starting to become passť as we move to the ďlifestreamingĒ movement. How this will effect corporate communications is still as yet unknown.  

SMP: What are the next moves for PR Newswire, particularly regarding social media?

MP: PR Newswire will continue to look at new technologies and adapt them into our suite of services as they become pertinent to the profession. Mechanisms to allow people to further reach into their own networks, in a faster and more efficient way are definitely interesting to us. We also recognise the need to monitor and measure the effectiveness of their overall programme as being incredibly important today.  PR Newswire Social Media Monitoring is only the first step.

SMP: Whatís going to be the most interesting aspect regarding social media / technology throughout 2009?

I think there are two aspects that are going to be incredibly interesting in social media this year, and moving forward into 2010: Measurability and influence.  Networks and technology to view and analyse networks are getting more and more sophisticated. As we are able to monitor and measure feedback more easily, we will soon be able to affordably analyse the sphere of influence on conversations that are taking place online.

SMP: How does this fit into plans at PR Newswire?

: Measurement fits right into our core plans to help the communications profession Listen, Analyze, Strategise, Engage, and Respond (LASER) in a more efficient manner. Our goal is to help our clients be more efficient in their communications with their audiences in any way that we can.

SMP: Top five tips businesses using press releases services should consider?

MP replies with:

1. Listen before you promote.

2. Think about SEO when writing your releases

3. A good headline is still one of the most effective ways to get your message seen.

4. Use links in your releases and not just links to your homepage. Use deep links to pages and documents in your website or other places online.

5. Use multimedia such as photos and videos when appropriate for your story (one caution, donít use B-Roll for video as a video should be telling a story that compliments your press release).

SMP: Best way to contact you?

MP: michael.pranikoff @ or

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

MP: Cinnamon Life Cereal Ė my all time favourite cereal at breakfast.

SMP: Whatís the last good thing that you did for someone?

: Iíve been letting two good friends live with me rent free this summer because they didnít have a place to stay while doing internships in DC and couldnít afford rents. I just like having people around, so itís as much for me as it is for them....and itís been a lot of fun.

SMP: How many hours to you work a week?

: Technically 40 hours, but Iím always accessible and can usually be found working till 12AM or 1AM. What can I say, I like what I do and Iím fascinated by technology and sociology.

SMP: If you werenít running PR Newswire what would you be doing?

MP: Well, I donít run PR Newswire, but if I wasnít working for them I would probably be working at a PR / Marketing or New Media agency.

SMP: When and where did you go on your last holiday?

MP: I travel so much for work that I chose to stay home.  However, I do have a trip planned to Cologne and Berlin next year that Iím looking forward to.

SMP: Whatís the first thing you do when you get into the office of a morning?

: Turn the computer on and open my Netvibes page (my super charged RSS reader).

SMP: If you had a superpower what would it be and why?

MP: Iím not sure, but I love the show Heroís for that reason Ė so I can imagine what I would like.  If I had to choose, I would say to push thoughts into peopleís minds...that way I could always be right!

SMP: Are there a corporate or personal blog/s we should know about (if there is, you should add this to SMP also)?

MP: I donít blog actually. Iíve always meant to, but never got around to it. I do frequently comment. However, Iím not sure people need to blog anymore with services like Twitter and Facebook. I have had a ďlink blogĒ for years on Delicious and use my page to tag content about PR & Technology, and put notes as to why Iíve tagged something Ė

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