Talk to Them: Mashable’s PR Lesson

By Brendan Hughes

Want a lesson in building value for your online content?

Look no further than Pete Cashmore and Mashable – his wildly-popular social media and tech news site.

Multiple news outlets have reported that CNN is in talks to acquire the 26-year-old’s site for an unheard-of $200 million.

Talk about generating value.

CNN will use the blog to bolster their reach, while making a statement about their interest in social media and startups. This acquisition comes after other purchases by CNN’s parent company AOL Time Warner, which acquired TechCrunch in 2010 and Engadget in 2005, two other popular technology sites.

Many say this shows a new hybridization trend for online news. Where traditional media is joining with social media blogs to attract and retain younger audiences, media talent, and advertising revenue.

According to Technorati “… this is sign of things to come. There is no old and new media anymore. All social networking is media and all media is social.”

Cashmore founded Mashable in 2005 from his family’s home in Scotland. It’s now widely seen as the most popular technology blog in the world, boasting 20 million unique monthly visitors and 4 million Twitter followers.

What’s the key to creating successful online content?

In a video interview with Bloomberg, Cashmore said that when creating online content you should:

  1. Focus around creating online engagement and audience interaction.
  2. Build community by posing questions and seeking responses, rather than trying to have all the answers.
  3. Be more conversational – ask questions and incorporate audience comments into your follow up stories. People like to see their voices included.

These strategies will become increasing important for PR pros and those seeking to reach online audiences in the future.

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