Five Dropbox Uses for Public Relations Professionals

Posted by Joe Walton on 02/05/2011

“The best things in life are free(mium)” could easily have been said about Dropbox.

Dropbox - Secure backup, sync and sharing made easy.

If you haven’t see it before, at it’s most basic it is a application that syncs a folder on your computer to the web and then to back any other devices you link to your account. Mobile phones, laptops, desktops, tablet, MAC or PC it doesn’t matter. If the device has a web connection you can retrieve your file.

If you are still a little confused this video will help

We have been experimenting with Dropbox in the office for a couple of months and found it very useful. Here are my my top five Dropbox uses for PR professionals:

1.) Lose the memory stick

The USB dongle; the ubiquitous freebie of the last decade and generally used for transporting a document between home and work. Now you just install Dropbox and the press release you need to finish that evening will be waiting for you when you get home. The updated version will then be back in the office the next morning. 

2.) Dump FTP to receive large files)

Our professional cousins in design and photographer have been using FTP for years to transport large files over the web. They can be a little intimidating for the non-technical people but there is no need to worry anymore.

Dropbox works with a number of add on applications, such of which DropItToMe, to act as virtual post box. Send someone your link and password and they can send you a file up to 50Gb. Once it has been uploaded it will be available on your desktop within minutes. It doesn’t allow multiple files but this can solved by zipping multiple files together.

3.) Avoid journalist inbox frustrations

Pictures can make or break a story. But it can be difficult and time consuming sending lots of images over email. Inbox limitation can make it easy to get on the wrong side of journalists by filling up their folder or putting a strain on their download rate with large image files. Then there are over zealous spam filters to worry about.

Sometime journalists want high-res only, other times they want a selection in low-res to request the ones they want.

DropBox makes this all very easy. Pictures in any folder can be viewed as gallery or slideshow. Images are show in low resolution but downloaded in high. This can all be managed easily from a desktop. You can selectively give the  press the freedom to choose from a range of shots without forcing them to register for another website. When you want to stop people accessing them just break the link to the folder or move the images.

Dropbox image preview

Just a quick note, put in an extra text document with all the pictures details in the galley and make sure the information and meta-tags in the pictures are filled out. This helps ensure copyright and attribution is enforced. It will also help file the photos correctly in the journalist’s system. If you want to be extra nice to bloggers and web journalists have a separate folder of low res images available.

4.) Review large video files

Letting clients view video files can be cumbersome. Dropbox allows them to preview a video through a private link. There is no need to encode a file by sending it to Youtube and they don’t need to download it. Combining this with DropItToMe to receive the file from video service suppliers saves valuable time when working with large files.

5.) Provide multiple video file types

Newspapers and other media outlets are often reticent to use embeddable files from the web and perhaps not as quick on the uptake of video as they could have been.

One of the problems is the different files types (MOV, FLV , WMV) compatibility with different editorial systems. Trying to change an video type is possible but can be a bit hit and miss. It also takes up time no online editor has at their disposable. Just create Dropbox folder with your video in a range of file types to make life easier for everyone. One link and they can choose the exact file type they need and review it to see if it the sort of content they are interested in.

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Dropbox is a very versatile tool. I haven’t even touched on its sharing and collaboration potential with colleagues. New users get 2GB for free, which can be expanded through referrals and performing certain tasks that will spread the word about DropBox (a very smart viral mechanism).

Part of this mechanic is to encourage people to share a link and receive some extra space for free. In that spirit, if you enjoyed this post please click this link and download the software which will reward me with more space. If you didn’t, but still want to try Dropbox, feel free to go directly to the site from here.

Let us know how you get on and if you have found and other ways to use Dropbox for PR?


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About the Author

Joe Walton is a consultant at Real PR and Secretary of the CIPR Scotland. His main interests sit between communications, psychology and technology.

You can follow him on multiple social networks including twitter and Google+.