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The Long Tail of Public Relations

You've probably heard about the "Long Tail" theory of the web -- that instead of needing to rely on big hits, businesses on the web could expect to see a trickle of steady business as people in need of their products or services used the web to find them. But did you know that the concept also applies to PR?
The idea is that when we put out press releases and other content on the web, it becomes part of an interconnected web of information, and that long after the initial release of the information, people who are interested in it have the opportunity to find it.

OK -- but what does this have to do with PR?

Social media maven Sally Falkow points to the example of the USC Marshall School of Business, which has had success raising its profile on the web by posting social media content from the school. For instance, here's an example of a professor who did a study about the stock market effect of review by the Wall Street Journal's influential tech columnist, Walt Mossberg. In addition to posting a press release about it, Marshall also posted a video of the professor on its web site and on Youtube.

A few months ago, we posted excerpts of an interview with Chris Anderson, the Wired editor who coined the term "long tail." Here's the key quote from Anderson:

It's not about reaching everybody through The New York Times now. Instead, it's about seven million blogs and learning to communicate with those fragmented audiences or communities. Traditional PR is oriented around mass media. The new era is about niche media. That is PR 2.0. It's also "Long Tail PR."
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