Internet Has Changed the Practice of Public Relationships
The objective of this study is to examine how the Internet has changed the practice of public relationships.
The Internet is reported to have made it "easier to find media contacts and form relationships with journalists, but more importantly the rise of social media and online PR has meant by passing the media and going directly to your audience." (Thaeler, 2012) Online PR is reported by Thaeler to have "changed the PR industry" and according to Thaeler "it's not going back." (2012)
Ways that Online PR Has Changed the Role of the PR Person
The work of Thaeler (2012) reports that there are several ways that online PR has changed the PR person's role including those as follows:
(1) The Line Between PR and SEO Continues to Blur -- and the question presented is who should handle PR, the online marketing company, or the PR firm, or possibly both. It is reported that while traditional PR "may be excellent at finding the angle or pitch and have relationships with the media, they may not be the best choice for SEO." (Thaeler, 2012) Stated to be a large part of SEO is the construction of quality links and this is stated to include links from authority sites such as brand name news sites. Another part of this is social media since links to news stories are often shared by individuals as well as blog posts, YouTube videos and the like. It is reported that Google "has added these conversations and given them more weight in search results, so those links can be valuable. They can lead to higher authority which is rewarded with higher search engine placement." (Thaeler, 2012)
(2) Social Media Press Releases and Social Media Marketing Requires New Skillsets -- Neilson demonstrated that social media usage has increased by 82% in the last year." (Thaeler, 2012) It is reported that news is going social as well "from social news site PitchEngine to newcomers Press Lift." (Thaeler ) Reported as well is that in social marketing "creativity is key." (Thaeler, 2012) The new breed of entrepreneur or the social networker is someone with an "email list, a YouTube channel and a following on social sites." (Thaeler, 2012) In addition, it is stated that these individuals "wear your shirt in real life." (Thaeler, 2012)
(3) Traditional Media is Tapping Into Online Networks for Story Ideas and Promotion -- It is reported that traditional media is many times "short-staffed and overworked" and is dependent more on "online networks and the people who have built them for their stories." (Thaeler, 2012) According to recent research "89% visit blogs and social sites to do research." (Thaeler, 2012) It is reported that the media "is actually nodding to online sensations. First a concept is proven when it rises to Internet fame. Evidence: HGTV is partnering with top mommy blogger Heather Armstrong (Dooce) to gain access to her strong following online. Frigidaire signed on mommy bloggers with their Test Drive Campaign to promote their new line of appliances. After 23 years, Pepsi is taking their Super Bowl ad budget from traditional to online PR." (Thaeler, 2012) Instead of hurting television and traditional media it is reported that online networks and offline networks "are simply feeding off each other." (Thaeler, 2012) It is stated as well that just as the Internet supports TV, "…savvy PR pros stand to benefit, but only if they capitalize on these trends and expand their skillsets. Some are collaborating with online marketing companies. As they do this, they'll become even more relevant to their clients." (Thaeler, 2012)
Pioneer in public relations education, Rex Harlow defined public relations "is a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its public; involves the management of problems or issues; helps management to keep informed on, and responsive to public opinion; defines and emphasizes the responsibility of management to serve the public interest; helps management keep abreast of, and effectively utilize, change; serving as an early warning system to help anticipate trends, and uses research and ethical communication techniques as its principal tool." (Cutlip, Center and Broom, 2000, p.4 cited in: Bhargava, 2010) Broom (2009) states that public relations is "the management function that establishes and matinas mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whom its success or failure depends." (p.25 cited in Bhargava, 2010) Bhargava (2010) states that the overall observation made by public relations practitioners on the use of the Internet is "that they tend to apply the online tools in a similar fashion to traditional media tools such as print and broadcast and fail to include the Internet in their strategic planning process." ( ) Bhargava (2010) states "While several advantages of the Internet have been identified which include reduced costs, enhanced speed, customization and direct contact with the target publics, practitioners participating in earlier studies have expressed their concerns over several challenges such as the accentuation of crisis due to the globalised networking on the Internet and the difficulty in keeping up-to-date with the constantly evolving Internet world." (2010) Public relations practitioners today are reported in the work of Bhagarva to be "confronted by a changing media environment that is significantly more complex, diverse and dynamic than the traditional media sphere and requires them to share information in a far more transparent and interactive manner than ever before. The implication for the practitioners is to acknowledge and understand the changing demands and perspectives of their publics and fully utilize the opportunities offered by the new media channels." (2010) A report of the Public Relations Society of American (1999) Commission on PR Education states that the changes in public relations practice "since the 1987 Commission on Public Relations Education Report are numerous and profound."
Red Bull Website Public Relations Examined
This is evidenced for example online the Red Bull website which features high school football scores and reports as well as pro-sports information and reports. Sports featured on the Red Bull website include everything from football to skateboarding and includes features on movies and other entertainment events. The main sections featured on the Red Bull website include: (1) athletes and teams; (2) sports; (3) events; (4) world series; and (5) music and entertainment. Subtitles on the website include: (1) products and company; (2) videos; (3) photos; (4) audio; (5) holy shit; (6) games; (7) red bulletin; (8) redbull.tv; and (9) red bull signature series. (Redbullusa.com, 2012) This website enables media access as well. It is easy to see how public relations has had to adapt to the new media of the Internet as this type of PR is in high demand because of the high levels of use of the Internet.
Horton (nd) reports in the work entitled "The Internet Revolution: It Came. It Went, It's Here" that the Internet revolution "…has profoundly changed the way the PR business is done, but not its principles. Credibility, accuracy and honesty in translating the company to the public and vice versa are more important than ever, especially since the Internet has many charlatans and unethical communicators. Yet, process change has imposed a burden on practitioners to learn the new medium and how to use it to support better, faster and less expensive communications." (p.4)
How the Internet Changed Public Relations
According to Abby Malikpr the internet has changed PR in the following ways:
(1) One aspect of PR that has changed due in large part to the Internet is our ability to communicate and engage directly with our "public," as opposed to relying on third-party validation and communication like print and TV news stories and paid advertisement (in most organizations, as we all know, media relations and advertising aren't disappearing anytime soon).Thanks to the Internet, we can speak directly to customers and potential customers, through web sites, blogs, social media, and more. Smart companies don't send their news releases only to media outlets anymore: they distribute them far and wide. They're bypassing the middleman and becoming their own publishers and distributors. And they can only do this on such a wide scale with the Internet. (Malikpr, nd)
(2) Another important example of how the Internet has changed PR is that now we, as PR professionals, are expected to know about social media and how to incorporate it into our public relations activity. As mediums like Facebook and Twitter continue to grow, their existences are validated by the quantity of their users. And where our customers are, we must go! (Malikpr, nd)
(3) Another way the Internet has changed the PR field is that it has created a learning and networking environment that's conducive to career growth, if we'll only take advantage of it. AU.S. News article last week named the public relations specialist as a top career of 2011. The article included a great quote from Gary McCormick, CEO of PRSA:"The interesting thing about public relations is that every public relations…