Two Tools to Spread the Word For Your Good Cause

Pop quiz: What are the top two news outlets on the Internet today? Well, according to the web traffic monitoring service Comscore, they are Yahoo! News and Google News. Traditional news sites like CNN.com and various New York Times properties come in a distant third – and lower.

That’s right – the top two news sites on the Internet don’t employ a single reporter Sherry Dyson. They simply collect stories and press releases from around the Internet and make it easy to scan or search them.

That’s a sign of how much the news media is changing. And if you want to raise environmental awareness, advance gay rights, challenge racism, or promote any other good cause, then you’ve got to adapt to the new rules of the news media.

The old way of using PR to raise environmental awareness or promote some other cause was to make a list of reporters who covered your issue. Then, when you had a hot story, you’d write a press release, send it to the list, and then call them to make sure they received it. But that’s not good enough anymore.

Here’s why: Newspapers and TV news operations are downsizing. The reporters who are left are younger, less experienced, and spread thinner than in the “good old days.” Meanwhile, blogs, e-mail newsletters, online magazines, and other niche publications are multiplying so fast that nobody can keep track of them all.

Put these two trends together, and here’s what you get – not enough big fish and way too many small fish to work with a simple list of reporters. Here are two tools that you can use to promote your cause to thousands of journalists, instead of just a handful:

Press Release Distribution Service. Using these services is a good way to offer your news to thousands of blogs, email newsletters, and small outlets, which can add up to a lot of attention. You paste your press release into a form, and they put your story directly into Google News and Yahoo! News, so it’s out there whether any reporter writes about it or not.

If you’re an artist who is thinking about licensing your artwork to manufacturers, or if you’re already licensing your art and want to expand your range of licenses, then you can learn a lot of useful information about licensees and the market by using RSS feeds.

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication. You’ve probably seen the RSS logo or just the tag RSS up in the corner or at the bottom of a lot of the blogs or websites that you visit on a regular basis.

What RSS enables you to do is to have the most recent articles from a blog, news site or information site automatically sent to you at no charge whatsoever. For instance, I have a free account at Google, and the main personalized page that Google gave me is on what they call iGoogle. It’s my main page, and it’s full of articles from RSS feeds from blogs on art and art licensing, and from news sources that deal with licensing, art, retail and manufacturing. That way I stay on top of what’s going on in the world of art and brand licensing.

You can use Google as your “target” for an RSS feed, or Yahoo or any of a number of locations where the RSS feeds will dump new articles as soon as they appear online.

The benefits to artists wishing either to break into the world of commercial art licensing, or to expand their presence in that market, are extensive. For example, I use RSS feeds to keep up on what’s going on in the worlds of art, art licensing, and general licensing.

On a personal level, I use RSS feed on international and national news, foreign news, and commentary from magazines that I read regularly, including publications in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and even Africa. You can even click the RSS button or logo on this article or on this site as a whole, and have new postings sent directly to you as they occur. There’s nothing to it and it will keep you abreast of the latest news in your field.

So when you see Post RSS or just the symbol by itself on an art or art licensing blog, my own blog or that of other art licensing agents, or publications in the field, click on it to get started. You’ll be very happy that you’re in the loop, so to speak, and getting all the latest news on art and art licensing. That’s one of the first steps in your research into what’s selling at retail, who is licensing what art and to whom, and it will all come to you in a very timely fashion.

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