The practice of public relations is
generally applied once a product, service or individuals public perception is determined by market research. Once the challenges
have been adequately identified, a campaign is developed to meet the desired goals. A wide variety of different ‘tools’
are employed to carry out planned PR strategies including press (news) releases and press kits; product launches; press conferences;
speech writing; media seminars and sometimes lobbying. And now that the Internet has become a valuable media asset, Internet
placement has become important as well.
A decade ago, the Internet was generally
considered a strange new world by many public relations practitioners. Today, now that it is better understood, the Internet
has become a valuable additional medium for public relations messages to reach and influence prospects and customers worldwide.
As such, both public relations agencies and corporate PR departments have successfully embraced the myriad of new techniques
that are required for successful Internet promotions of corporate capabilities, products and services. (Wikipedia, 2007).
It has often been said within the marketing
community that while “advertising sells, public relations seduces” and this snapshot seems equally as applicable
to Internet promotions as it does to more traditional techniques.
Public relations and publicity are
While often misunderstood outside of
the industry, publicity is but one tool of public relations among many. It is a technique for disseminating information about
products, services, people, corporate achievements, political candidates and anything else aimed at increasing public awareness,
brand or name recognition. Publicity is admittedly an important tool, since it delivers the desired information to places
where awareness can best be obtained. Traditionally, those places were primarily news services, magazines, newspapers and
a variety of other print and broadcast media. Adding the Internet to this ‘target media mix’ dramatically expands
the overall ‘reach’ of publicity on a global scale.
In the pre-Internet days of public
relations, publicity pickups were enhanced by mailing press releases to a wide list, personal contacts between PR people and
editors; distribution of Press Kits at important industry shows; press tours and other person-to-person contacts. While these
activities are still used, techniques to distribute PR messages using the Internet take up an increasing percentage of a PR
person’s time. In addition, there are a wide variety of different techniques required to successfully promote products
and services online via search engines such as Google, Yahoo and others that are totally different from the editorial thrusts
of earlier years. (Best Practices in Public Relations, 2007).
Public relations messages are now ‘optimized’
for the Internet
The Internet has given rise to a new
type of press release called an optimized press release or OPR. Earlier, traditional releases were prepared primarily for
an editor’s attention while the new OPR is designed expressly to be posted on an online portal. This requires that the
writer of the material select certain ‘keywords’ or ‘key phrases’ that are directly related to the
content in the hope that the release will earn a high rank from Internet search engines. Instead of being directed solely
to editors, these OPRs reach readers who are the end-users. Thus, OPRs circumvent the mainstream media that was formerly the
primary public relations target.
Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia (2007)
Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/public_relations
Benchmarking Reports.com, a service
of Best Practices, LLC (2007) ‘Best Practices in Public Relations’.
Available from: http://www.3.best-in-class.com/ bestp/domrep.nsf/Content/A9B7E6