Have Search Engines Changed Public Relations?

Have Search Engines Changed Public Relations?

When it comes to Public Relations, the driving philosophy that underlies even the most minute aspect of a campaign is that perception equals reality. This is as true as ever in the Interactive Age because anyone with Internet access has the ability to voice his or her opinion on the World Wide Web.

Internet users now have the ability to present their opinions for public consumption on blogs as well as websites. Thanks to the advent of search engines, websurfers may access any perspective of the online debate (be it positive, negative, or indifferent) ranging in topic from iPods to real estate.

Google has profoundly changed advertising on the internet as well. What distinguishes search from other online marketing strategies is that search provides each individual user with specific information based on their initial inquiry. Often, this information comes from obscure corners of the Internet, thus giving strength to voices that may have gone unheard.

This democratic media revolution brings new challenges for Public Relations, the art dedicated to communicating a business’s message to its audience. No longer is PR concerned with the relatively sparse inlets of effective television, radio and print, now, thanks to the Internet, Public Relations has to actually contend with …gulp …the public!

So it makes sense that PR efforts must now encompass the expanding world of search and, in order to survive in the marketplace, your business needs the PR benefits that come as a result. Search Engine Optimization SEO, should be utilized by Public Relations professionals to ensure the standards of their client’s image. A comprehensive PR strategy must incorporate search as a means of building or maintaining a client’s image.

The survival of conventional PR then becomes a question of updated technology. When choosing a Public Relations company to help your business maintain an image, it is no longer a question of who has the longest track record, but who has the longest reach.

If your PR company doesn’t have a search division of its own at its fingertips, don’t expect your campaigns to extend beyond the traditional paper and print. In this sense, it was a natural extension of ICMediaDirect.com to announce its Public Relations division after the successes of its Search and Research divisions.

Finding that much of the work performed for SEO and SEM was already inherently related to the new Search-influenced PR, the launching of a PR division in a company long familiar with the details of this industry is no surprise.

How do they relate?

Let’s take an imaginary attack on The Best Car Seller. A disgruntled entity could simply start “blogging” against it. They could harp on a single unfortunate incident, or flat out tell lies about The Best Car Seller, and its corporate ineptness. It wouldn’t take much. 

Perhaps The Best Car Seller runs TV and print ads. These efforts would be undercut by some chap with a blog running a disinformation campaign. Unfair accusations or charges would appear every time someone searches for ‘The Best Car Seller’. No company, big or small, real or imagined, can afford bad press that pops up with every user search. At this point, the necessity for a comprehensive Public Relations strategy becomes clear.

The Best Car Seller could, through a practice commonly known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), be proactive in asserting its corporate voice, thus re-asserting its sterling brand image. The variety of interactive channels to engage in allows The Best Car Seller greater ability to define its desired message.

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