Public Relations (PR) Methods of the Past, Present and Onwards

Changes in most cases have always been good. This is even more evident in the new age of communication, particularly as it pertains to Public Relations and Marketing. Public Relations (PR), as the name may suggest, are methods used by organizations, groups, government bodies, and individuals to communicate and relay their purposes and goals to their stakeholders and the wider society. In times gone by, this was done primarily through the issuing of Press and News Releases; media kits being sent to press; holding press conferences; printing brochures, newsletters and annual reports; or simply corresponding directly with the mass media. Today, while still implementing the use of traditional media (radio and television broadcast, newspapers, magazines) to some extent, corporations have also begun to place a more in-depth focus on those within the “online world”. With the emergence of Social Media/Network Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Blogs (video and written), or Podcasting, organization are seemingly becoming more reliant on these methods in order to remain relevant and competitive within the global market.

Offline PR vs Online PR

The modern age of communication has placed a new spin on the modes and means of Public Relations and Marketing. Press Releases, media or news releases, including video releases, that were once conducted by issuing copies of information about the respective organization to journalists via direct mailing, fax or e-mailing are now being replaced. Even the appearances of spokespersons before an audience of information-hungry media personnels are slowly but surely being made redundant. Realizing the shift of “advertising opportunity” focus, organizations are now finding it fundamentally important to develop content-rich websites and create Social Media/Network (SM) accounts with the hopes of reaching both their targeted as well as wider audiences in a more direct and interactive manner. With an estimated 2 billion Internet user worldwide (Internet World Stats), companies are now opting to issue Press Releases online via websites such as PressReleaser.org, Express Press Release Distribution, Press Release Point, PRWeb among many others. Such websites even provide you with templates and formats on how this is to be properly and effectively done.

As any informed Internet Marketer would confess, blogging has now become the most essential way to share ideas about specific concepts and engage the readers in meaningful discussions online. Media platforms such as Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr have easily facilitated this method. Similar to this, are the presence of topic forums on websites. Social Networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook (created by Mark Zuckerberg and his computer programming colleagues within the dorm rooms at Harvard, it now boasts over 750 million active users), and Podcast, have become essential tools to further enhance the capacities to broadcast and correspond with persons on a one on one basis while still reaching out on a much greater scale. News platforms such as LiveJournal, Digg, Reddit and a plethora of even more targeted ones such as fashionburner.com, are vast, user-friendly networks that will allow organizations to instantly relay information of public interest to the world. YouTube by the way, has boasted the indomitable ability to give everyone an equal opportunity to become a self-made “movie star” overnight, since 2005. Each day millions of tweets are shared, videos are created, words are written, posted and viewed by millions around the world. Even the creation of high-powered personalized websites using Content Management Systems (Joomla, Drupal, WordPress), are as easy as 1-2-3. Well maybe not that easy but…

Resulting from the emergence of Social Network/Media platforms, the roles and functions of many PR professionals and Marketers may have begun to adapt and transform into new forms of professions. Truth be told, PR disciplines such as Financial Public Relations; Industry Relations; Crisis Public Relations; Advertiser and Marketers are all still relevant to individual organizations. However, with downward trends in traditional forms of broadcasting and media, emphasis is being placed on methods of how to successfully survive among billions in the online world. Companies are either outsourcing their PR and Marketing portfolios to agents who specialize in Internet Marketing and Social Media Management or are facilitating access to training in the dynamics of effective online strategies to their employees. Owing, of course, to the realization that content is key, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is just one of various techniques that are being taught as a means for staying afloat in these “torrential Internet waters”, and the success of any Internet campaign and marketing strategy relies heavily on mastering this.

Where do we go from here?

Change is constant and much so for the better. Therefore, while organizations may find usefulness in older forms of PR and Marketing strategies, they are now realizing that their survival and competitiveness now lie in the hands of mastering the ways of the online world. Globalization dictates this to be so. In any case, various user friendly platforms and techniques are readily available to individuals and organizations alike, to enhance any online networking strategy and in publicizing their “goodwill” on a vast, equal and open Internet playing field.