Online Newsroom Specialist Eric Schwartzman Interviews Public Relations Software Executive Gerald Baron

February 06, 2009 by Eric Schwartzman

Online newsroom specialist Eric Schwartzman puts PIER Systems Founder & CEO Gerald Baron On the Record...Online at the PRSA International Conference 2008 in Detroit about trends in online crisis communications, public relations software and the insatiable quest for speed in the media relations business.

Like public relations software provider iPressroom, PIER Systems is on-demand, information management software. PIER systems differentiates their software by tailoring their offering specifically to the crisis communications objectives of public relations and media relations. PIER unifies innovative technology and tools in one web-based application to help organizations maintain business continuity, while making organizational communications simple and easy.


1:23 -- How to SEO press releases using iPressroom’s SEO wizard with trackable hyperlinks, part of the iPressroom online newsroom public relations software package. For more info tweet @chrisbechtel.

2:54 -- Gerald Baron outlines his presentation on handling crisis communications with public relations software titled "Building Trust in a Threatening Media Environment," which was delivered at the PRSA International Conference 2008 in Detroit.

3:42 -- Gerald Brown on the disappearance of news cycles in a hyper competitive environment based on immediacy. Gerald talks about a reporter who broke news about Hurricane Ike, a Los Angeles Fire Department distributing fire safety information on Twitter and what it all means for crisis communications.

4:49 -- Gerald Baron on the impact of the news media, and people’s insatiable quest for up-to-the-second information, on the business of crisis communications, public relations, and media relations and the inherent risks associated with letting others tell your story for you.

5:43 -- Gerald Baron shares his for "Ps" of effectively online communications, which are: Policy, Plans, People and Platform. He also discusses why communicating with incredibly speed, and directly to constituents, are critical components to telling your own story in a world without news cycles.

6:36 -- Gerald Baron uses the Virginia Tech massacre as an example of why organizations need the ability to handle direct to the public crisis communications with incredible speed, and the role of public relations software in that process.

7:23 -- Gerald Baron reveals the key features that a public relations software package should have: single online control platform; be entirely web-based; exist independent and outside of the organizations IT infrastructure; and be completely controlled by public relations professionals.

8:35 -- Gerald Baron discusses the lessons he learned from the Virginia Tech Shootings, one of which is raised expectations for rapid communications directly from organizations. He says the VT shootings underscore that we no longer live in a world in where people can depend on the media for urgent information during an emergency.

9:39 -- Gerald Baron explains why stand alone text notification systems that are not integrated public relations software platforms are potentially dangerous to PR professionals, because they attempt to substitute notifications for communications. He cites research [PDF] from PIER Systems that he says show outbound notifications drive demand of inbound requests for additional information.

10:53 -- Gerald Baron lists the additional modes of communications, like your website or online newsroom, RSS and email, which are just as important as the instant notifications people now expect to receive from organizations during a catastrophe. He paints a hypothetical crisis scenario where students get a text message to their phones about some kind of disaster or emergency, jam up the phone lines in search of more information and then go to the school’s website, which is hopefully built to handle huge numbers of simultaneous incoming requests. He says the system breaks down when organizations deploy a notification system without fortifying their ability to respond to the increased incoming requests for additional information.

12:02 -- Gerald Baron talks about the importance of integration when selecting public relations software to support external communications, and on the need for effectiveness and efficiency, particularly at a time when staffing level are being reduced, and individuals are being asked to do more with less. He also discusses the cost benefits of an integrated public relations software platform.

15:49 -- End

Eric Schwartzman (@ericschwartzman) is the founder of online newsroom public relations software as a service provider iPressroom (, and creator of the New Media PR Boot Camp, which has been attended by more than a thousand public relations and marketing executives from the private, public, government and nonprofit sectors. In addition to advising clients on best practices for online newsroom design, deployment and management, Schwartzman offers a portfolio of new media training courses to accelerate the acquisition of social media communication skills. He created the On the Record...Online podcast in April 2005 with the support of the iPressroom content development team.

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