The Internet has returned public relations to the public! That is you can now take material you want to announce and use the internet to send it out so it accessible to the public, press releases have stopped being limited to the media and a narrow group of stakeholders. Through the likes of eNewsWire you can now reach potentially millions of possible evangelist that are likely to pick up your story and advocate it and when I say millions I mean millions, Face book users in the US are well over 60.000.000 and in the UK they are nearly 18.000.000 and that is just one of the options you have to distribute content through, then there are the hundreds of sites that accept press releases for a free distribution over the Internet and some even direct to the inbox of the media.
With around 100.000 searches per month for the phrase “action vacation(s)” on Google world wide a well written press release on a country like Iceland (my home country) as a “solution” for that search is likely to pop up in Google Universal Search results, Google’s blog results and Google News results and if you optimize an image to accompany the release you might also come up under Google Image search, then there is Bing, Yahoo and all of the other search engines. And of you do your job well, the media will pick it up and write about the dream action vacation.You could argue that the Internet has distorted the gap between PR and marketing.
Modern public relations are no longer about generating “clips” or getting “ink” or “airtime” and it’s definitely not about one way communications. It’s about understanding that you can reach your audience directly using the internet and in many cases it will be a low cost, high impact distribution.
As the web allows direct access to information, a once direct to media PR strategy is often not necessary and/or you can reach the media in the same way as you can your audience, through the Internet. According to a recent survey done in 2007 well over 70% of journalist admit to reading online press releases and use as a base to their material and 98% say they use the Internet daily.
Study done by Nordic eMarketing on the behaviour of journalists seem to support this, but not only do journalists use the internet, their response time to material send out and picked up by Google News, Yahoo News or similar News aggregators is very low. We have seen online PR material or news go out and external media come in within minutes and then seen similar topics show up shortly after on the visiting media web-site.
The bottom line is that as the Internet develops and as gap between marketing and PR becomes more and more blurry, organizations not embracing these changes will be left behind.