The efficiency of Public relations continues to depend on the human factor as well as the skilful implementation of the instruments and channels.
PR remains a very important part of the marketing mix. After all, reporting about an organization, a person or a topic in the media contributes to the corporate image – especially among dialogue groups that can only be sensibly and credibly reached via media reports.
PR traditionally refers to developing and maintaining relationships with journalists as professional multipliers as well as the active dissemination of information to relevant media outlets. In today’s world, however, the term “Media Relations” is increasingly being used in general. Due to new audio-visual and electronic media, the boundaries are blurring between the various channels and potential recipients. Public relations now go hand in hand with social media, and thus has to be dialogue oriented and at the same time serve for SEO optimization, include the world of blogs and adhere to the rules of digital media.
Successful PR is thus more demanding than ever, even though numerous distribution portals including OpenPR, PR-Gateway or PR-Maximus as well as purchasable email mailing lists and multimedia information channels promise simplification. Although it has become easier to disseminate information, it is at the same time more difficult to actually reach one’s audience or even have the information passed along. Without the conventional approach of building personal relationships – even if only virtually – and a basic understanding of the role of journalists, one could well miss one’s target entirely.
The foundation of PR work is always the passive area: before one sends a press release through as many channels as possible and makes use of huge mailing lists, it is important to do the homework required to make the following activities sensible. This primarily includes a presence on the internet with detailed information about the company and its products, a company blog or even a separate press area to provide relevant information, background material and printable visuals. According to a survey conducted by the Universität der Bundeswehr München among 1,608 editors, search engines are by far the most important research tools. And it is only possible to find what is supplied online. Thus PR activities absolutely have to include professional search engine optimization.
The active side of public relations is can thus only be successful on a long-term basis if “quality instead of quantity” is its guiding principle. Journalists have to cope with a huge flood of information every day. In fact, it is so huge that, according to above mentioned survey, about every other press release is discarded without being read. The tool of choice is Networking and Reputation Management, which can be used to build your own mailing list piece by piece and in personal contact. And proceed with care by only sending high-quality information that will be relevant to the journalists’ readers and thus be a useful resource for the journalists.
Modern public relations can be enhanced using advanced streaming technologies, which can be used to broadcast press conferences online or even exclusively to virtually communicate with a group of invited journalists. With relatively little effort, this can be used to attract special attention and engage in rewarding real-time dialogue with journalists from around the world. This has yet another positive side effect in addition to “real” networking: the press conference can be recorded and made available in the press area for future downloading.