Public Relations in the Internet Age

As I’ve already said in several articles and videos, Internet has changed forever the way we live, communicate and do business. Business, for instance, have had to change the way they relate to their users (clients and others). Unfortunately many organizations haven’t seen yet the benefits of this change of mind.

Several years ago, organizations used to ignore what they called “anonymous users”. If these users had a problem, they might not get the expected support from these companies. Since the anonymous user had no real power, this was a save bet. However today anonymous users can have a great deal of power, due to the Internet and Social Networks.

This reality has changed the way companies do Public Relations (PR). Previously most PR efforts were centered toward mainstream media, maybe some small niche media and influential people, such as journalists, actors and politicians. By using this approach companies tried to reach out to those who had some type of impact in the community. Today this has changes, as the anonymous user can have great power and influence.

With this in mind, many companies have changed their PR strategy. It’s still smart to contact mainstream media and influential people, but it’s smarter to include in this conversation the anonymous user.

Previously a big part of PR was emitting press releases that usually used technical language. Since the readers knew about the topic, this was fine. Today however, companies have to reach out larger audiences. So for this strategy to work, they have to speak in a non-technical language, making sure their message has the largest probability of being understood and replicated.

This new landscape I’m describing can be beneficial for all type of companies. One of the main complains from companies was that their PR releases where ignored by media quite often. Since the traditional media is limited, they had relative few outlets where their information could be replicated. Today you’re talking with thousands if not million of users, so the odds are much better. This users by themselves might not have the power and reach of a single media outlet, but since they are so many, their power can be similar or more of the one from the traditional media.

If you have not invested in this type of PR strategy, I advice you to consider it seriously. Large and traditional companies can have a hard time understanding and adapting to this new reality. However I’m sure the benefits will outweigh the problems and this will be a smart decision. Also, if you don’t start thinking this way, you will loose many opportunities as many of your users are expecting this from your organization.

Image taken from Flickr.com

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