Agriculture Communication

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Blogs & News Releases - Choosing the Right Tool for the Job

These days, you have a number of ways to get your message to your audience.

Ag Comm staff can help get you started with a blog or website to share timely information online, as well as craft news releases and other materials to reach people through online and traditional media outlets.

However, determining when your content should be shared as a news release, blog post or Web page sometimes can be difficult.

Why not do both?

If a news release and blog post appear online and have "significant" blocks of similar text, Google and other search engines may interpret them as “duplicate content.” Duplicate content hurts the reputation of both sites. NDSU Ag news releases are posted online at www.ag.ndsu.edu/news, so taking all or some of a news release and posting it to a blog or Web page could result in both sites being considered duplicate content.

Using the right channel (news release, blog or Web page) for the content can help you avoid duplicate content and serve your audience more effectively.

When to use a news release.

When it's official - News releases are still recognized as the official, "on-the-record" method for public communication. If you are announcing the hiring of a new employee, changing hours of operation or making a similar official announcement, use a news release.

When it's newsworthy - Content is newsworthy when it is timely and has broad appeal. Most news releases go to a wide variety of daily and weekly newspapers, radio and TV stations, and online news sources and blogs. If you want multiple news sources to use your news release, the content better be newsworthy.

When you want a specific outcome - News releases can be effective in getting results. For example, when you need people to register or attend an event.

News releases that come from NDSU Agriculture Communication or from your office or department should relate directly to NDSU. For example, NDSU must be a sponsor or co-sponsor of an event. We are not responsible for promoting another organization’s event, activity or program.

When to use a blog post or Web page

When you are providing an "inside" perspective - Blog posts are a great way of giving your audience a glimpse behind the curtain at your work. Posts about securing speakers or a location for an event can make people feel more connected to that event. Posts about a project that is in development can give your audience an opportunity to offer their input for making the project effective.

When you need to go "in-depth" - News releases offer limited space (in print or on-air) and are one-time opportunities. Blogs allow you to discuss a topic from multiple perspectives, across multiple posts.

When you need to get information out now - Sometimes you cannot wait to get people important information about an immediate threat or concern. If you have content you need to get out right now, blogs and social media are the way to go.

When you want to engage your audience - New releases provide very limited ways for people to get more information or provide feedback. If you want to engage your audience, posting to a blog that allows comments is a great way to do it.

Make them work together

  • Effective communication isn't just about using the right tool, it's also about making your tools work together.
  • Use blog posts to provide in-depth content on a topic you shared in a news release.
  • "Preview" upcoming news releases in blog posts about things you are working on or preparing for.
  • Use a news release to promote a blog post or series of blog posts
  • Write a blog post that customizes content for a specific audience and links back to the news release intended for a broad audience.

For help with news releases:

Ellen Crawford, Information Specialist, (701) 231-5391
Rich Mattern, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

For help with blogs and Web pages:

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381
Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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