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Chapter 13: The World Wide Web

April. 16. 2010.

Public Relations: Writing and Media Techniques

by Dennis L. Wilcox

The Growth of the World Wide Web

  • The Worldwide adoption of the Internet has taken less time than the growth of an other mass medium
  • why it enables public relations people to do a better job of communication:
  1. information can be updated quickly
  2. it allows interactivity; viewers can ask question about products or service, download information of value to them, and let the organization know what they think
  3. online readers can dig deeper into subjects that interest them by linking to information provided on other sites, other articles, and sources
  4. online information is not limited by the space constrictions of print
  5. it is a cost-effective method of disseminating information on a global basis to the public and journalists

What materials in an online “press room” are most useful to a journalist:

  • Contact information
  • Search tool
  • Company background
  • Financial data
  • Company history and executive profiles
  • News
  • Multimedia
  • Graphics and usability
  • Down-loadable material

When You Write Online

  • Write the way you talk
  • Limit each page to a single concept
  • Use a lot of bullet-point lists
  • Make sure each page provides the context readers need
  • Limit the use of italics and boldface
  • Don’t overuse hyperlinks within narrative text
  • Make sure your hyperlinks are relevant
  • Provide feedback options for readers

When You Build a Website

  • Have the “vision” of how you want your organization to be perceived by the public
  • You need a copy-writer to write the text
  • You need a graphic artist to add the visual element
  • You need a computer programmer to put the ideas together in the HTML code for the Internet

Jakob Nielsen’s List of Additional Design Elements that Increases the Usability of Virtually All Sites

  • Place your organization’s name and logo on every page
  • Provide a “search” tab if the site has more than 100 pages
  • Write straightforward and simple headlines and page titles that clearly explain what the page is about and that will make sense when read out of context in a search engine results listing
  • Structure the page to facilitate scanning and help users ignore large chunks of pages in a single glance.
  • For example, use grouping and subheadings to break a long list several smaller units
  • Don’t cram everything about the product or topic into a single page

PR Ethics on the Web

  • Tell the truth at all times
  • Tell the full story
  • Know your subject
  • Rely on credible sources for expert advice
  • Offer opportunities for dialogue and interaction with experts
  • Correct misinformation that is online
  • Provide counsel on privacy, security, and other trust issues
  • Compile case studies on the best use of new media

How to Talk Web-speak

  • Bandwidth: deals with how much info can be sent or received at once
  • Browser: a computer application that enables you to get to the Web and view pages
  • GIF: Graphics Interchange Format, a standard graphics file format
  • HTML: Hypertext Markup Language; the standard scripting codes used to create Web pages
  • Firewall: a form of technical security that protects computers and networks from hackers, viruses, etc.
  • IT: Information Technology; acronym for departments within organizations that are responsible for computer-related activities
  • Router: a device that determines the next network point to which a packet of information should be forwarded
  • URL: Universal Resource Locator; the unique address for a Web site
  • Wallpaper: the background in which the text or graphics are embedded
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April. 26. 2010. 10:44 pm

    The internet amazes me to no end. How does the whole thing work? It just doesn’t seem possible does it? Almost all types of media are on the world wide web now. The web is and can be so helpful to spread information and make connections. Journalists are definitely people who benefit from the internet with all the information is offers and the connections they can make when writing a story. The thing that sticks out to me is to write as you would talk. I know that when writing a regular story, it’s frowned upon to write like you talk. I love how the world wide web allows you to be who you are, or anyone you want to be really.

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