September 29, 2008
Getting so Passionate About New Media Opportunities
By Anna Blackaby Media; Marketing Editor
A Staffordshire PR agency has enlisted the help of a former TV and radio journalist to help clients exploit new business opportunities opened up by digital technology.
Former BBC reporter Neil Aitchison has joined Passionate Media in Cannock as new media director, bringing with him a wealth of digital media experience in audio podcasting, blogging and writing for the web.
He said: "It's great to see how our clients are harnessing the power of new and social media to talk and listen to their customers as well as finding new ones and building communities.
"Podcasts and blogs go much further than more traditional marketing material ever could.
"Our clients have been most interested in how easy it is to make their information more accessible through an instant publishing platform such as a blog, or attractive and compelling through a podcast, which can really bring their message to life."
One example of Passionate Media's digital projects is the creation of a podcast for an online butcher which uses the sounds of sausages cooking to add atmosphere to a podcast looking at seasonal food for Bonfire Night.
President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Elisabeth Lewis-Jones, who is based in the Midlands, said Passionate Media is part of a trend which is seeing PR agencies increasingly bringing social media and web teams in-house.
"They are realising that traditional media, although very important, is only part of the mix and we need social media to reach key niche audiences," she said.
"There are also a lot of PRs getting training and making sure they are up to speed on new media.
"But new media, although it is welcome, does not completely replace traditional media and it's important to marry the two up."
Mr Aitchison has worked for BBC News Online and BBC Midlands Today, converting programmes into online digital content, as well as for more than ten years as a journalist working on newspapers and BBC local radio.
He comes to Passionate Media after a year working at Warwick University where he was in charge of the award-winning audio and video podcast programme Warwick Podcasts and Warwick iCast.
Mr Aitchison said: "Providing recorded radio-style interviews on the internet isn't exactly new but it's surprising how few businesses overall have exploited podcasting to increase trade. I'm hoping to convince businesses to see the benefits, particularly of audio podcasting, and use it to promote themselves. So far, the response has been excellent," he said.
"This is a way of harnessing the massive power of the internet to contact potential customers worldwide in an interesting and innovative way.
"In times of tough economic conditions it's a great way that firms can potentially beat the recession and find new customers.
Mr Aitchison said one of the best aspects of audio podcasts is the flexibility they offer. "Customers can listen anywhere, in the car, working at their desk or even while relaxing.
"The success of the iPod, enabling people to download seemingly endless audio material, means that audio and radio is going through a real renaissance and business needs to exploit that."
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