Extra! Extra! Online Media Outlets Often Help Us to Achieve Better PR Outcomes

Extra! Extra! Are newspapers dying?

The headline of David Lieberman’s article in today’s edition of USA Today is old news — if newsy at all.  What’s happening to newspapers is what’s driving Russo Partners’ healthcare PR counselors to advise clients to look beyond traditional media to reach investors, business partners, physicians and patients. We’ve been saying and doing this for a long time.

Take the Taligen Therapeutics story as an example.  When this Colorado biotech company contacted Russo Partners, Taligen was in a state of transformation.  A new CEO with expertise in protein drug development and a new office in Cambridge, Mass., were tidbits of company news that dominated a PR program session led by our team. Through our strategic planning and message-development process, we identified one of the most important audiences for Taligen as that of prospective employees (an audience we didn’t even mention above).  The new CEO, industry veteran Dr. Abbie Celniker, made it clear that the company’s next phase of growth would require her to identify and lock in other industry heavyweights.  However, Taligen had little to no name recognition outside of Colorado and the circle of complement system scientists who worked with the well-respected Dr. Michael Holers.

Instead of announcing the hiring of the CEO and her establishment of the new office, Russo Partners positioned the information as supporting points in an overall Taligen growth story.  The news release we distributed focused on the unveiling of the company’s strategic initiatives as opposed to boring personnel move information.  And instead of focusing the efforts on the traditional print media such as the Boston Globe, we aimed specifically for big hits in online publications that reach members of the life science community.

The results: Numerous Web-based articles about Taligen’s movement into its next phase of growth.  One article in particular did its job well.  A profile of the company on Xconomy, which bills itself as the “authoritative voice on the exponential economy,” flooded Taligen with inquiries from scientists, business development and regulatory affairs experts.  The output, as we call it in PR terms, produced better outcomes than what we were able to accomplish with industry-focused print publications and the local newspaper.

This case is one reason why we’re rolling along with Xconomy.  National Biotechnology Editor Luke Timmerman calls on Russo Partners’ staffers frequently for story ideas and connections to company executives.  Posted earlier today by Luke was an article about a young San Diego company, Amira Pharmaceuticals ,that lays out the story in straightforward terms.  It’s another home run in the making.

So where does that leave us with the obituary writers for the newspaper industry?  The same place where we were with clients many, many, many months ago: Advising healthcare executives to rethink their media relations targets and strategies to accomplish what they want in today’s Web 2.0 communications world.

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