The Internet has given a voice to those that previously could not have been heard and caused a revolution in communication. This, in turn, has opened a whole new world of opportunities for businesses as well as individuals that were unimagined just a few years ago. With the entire world going online to search for information and buy products/services, a PR agency that does not effectively interact with the online community is no longer effective in shaping and maintaining a positive public image.
One of the best ways to a company can use the internet as part of its PR campaign is by building a well-designed website which allows the company to share information that both polishes its image and furthers its agenda. Web sites are an excellent way to get the right information to journalists.
Most businesses include a link to a page specifically designed for the media on their site. Here, one can find all of the company’s press releases, as well as the company history, executive bios, photos and press kits. This enables businesses to forgo mass-e-mailed press releases and rely on the website to draw in journalists by itself.
Additionally, PR executives can instantly find new media contacts online, and rely on email and social media to quickly establish and nurture these relationships in the hopes their story will go viral. Moreover, these professionals now have real-time access to a highly engaged audience and an unprecedented ability to target people through different communication vehicles.
The speed, content, and engagement that come with the web have both positives and negatives associated with it. When it comes to speed, PR executives have the ability to instantly share company news and content across the Internet in a matter of minutes. On the other hand, this speed has created journalists that will forgo fact checking in order to be the first one to break a story.
More and more buyers are researching their purchases online before making them. Therefore, the need for relevant content is has become greater than ever before. A public relations agency has the ability to strategically place content designed for public consumption. This capability has grown stronger with access to a variety of delivery vehicles and format options. This insatiable need for content has led to marketers pumping out content as fast as they can. This has made it so that some “content” is viewed as company propaganda or is publicly available information that is spun as breaking news or proprietary data.
Society has become highly engaged and no longer waits to hear the news on the television each evening or in the paper the next day. Instead, consumers are actively seeking information all the time. This provides communications professionals with unprecedented real-time access to a vibrant audience.
However, that can also lead to a person or company being discredited in a matter of minutes through the sharing of negative photos and/or videos as well as through unfavorable reviews. PR professionals are challenged to both encourage engagement and to monitor activity in order to mitigate bad press.