now, can we all agree that Internet-enabled, networked audiences will
force change upon the communications industry whether the participants
like it or not?
If you don't agree, skip the
rest of this article. For the rest of you, let's discuss the six tools of
an effective online communications strategy.
This strategy assumes two key
Assumption 1: All online
content publishing and management can be done by the professional
communicator through an easy administrative interface that requires only
the most basic computer skills.
Assumption 2: All media
assets, contacts and content are stored in a server environment designed
to suit the needs of the company. This material can be accessed from
anywhere through the Internet given the proper security.
The six tools of a strategic online communications strategy are:
1. A Corporate Web Site.
This is the first point of contact for all external audiences. The brand
and the message should be consistent with all other offline marketing and
2. A Media Room. All
information that anyone would ever want about the company, updated on a
constant basis. Linked directly to the corporate web site and controlled
by the PR professionals. Brand, message, design and navigation match
corporate web site.
3. A Blog. This can in
many cases actually replace a web site for a small company or individual
content writer. In larger cases, a blog should be used to supplement or
enhance the web site. Savvy PR professionals should not only be posting
content to weblogs but should also be monitoring relevant weblogs for
4. A Crisis Site. Dark
until needed for an eventual crisis, this is the online component of a
company's overall crisis communications plan. An insurance policy, this
site is controlled by the PR professionals. The message is prepared in
times of quiet and published to the site in advance. When the crisis
occurs, the site is made live and is used as a one-stop resource site for
both internal and external audiences.
5. A Corporate Intranet.
This is a vital tool for internal communications, both in times of
normalcy and in times of chaos. Employees must share the vision, the brand
and the message and be able to communicate it consistently to the outside
world. Also allows for dynamic learning, training and presentations.
6. A Client Extranet. The
company gives access to a secure area for its clients and customers. It is
separate from the corporate website and password protected. It can be used
for collaboration among account team members, for managing client billings
and for commerce if so required.
Only by developing an understanding of the use of these tools can a PR
professional truly call themselves web-enabled.
Rambeau is the founder and owner of DVCO Technology, a provider of
online tools to PR professionals and a thought leader in online PR and
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