Stephen Waddington suggests that online searches are more valuable than press coverage as a promotional tool, so the PR business should change gear.
This reality, alas, hasn’t sunk into the UK PR industry yet, which still regards hard copy coverage as delivering the best value to clients when in reality web hits and increased search engine optimisation (SEO) is the way forward.
Andrew Smith adds a commentary on this, attacking the industry focus on news releases.
Given that no one could argue in favour of unproductive, wasteful PR tactics, the question must be asked why media relations retains such a prominent place in the PR toolkit in our disintermediated, Web 2.0 world. Here are some suggestions:
Media relations is the principal service that clients hire PR consultancies to provide, so there’s continued pressure on them to deliver ink and measure the thickness of cuttings. (In other words, there’s a procurement and client management problem).
Expressed another way, no other corporate function (eg marketing, HR, IT) has laid claim to media relations, leaving it unchallenged as a service delivered by PR. Contrast this with the turf wars over ownership of SEO, internal comms, events etc.
Given the low barriers to entering the online space, a tipping point is still needed to turn low level blog chatter into high profile campaigns. The traditional media (who also publish online) frequently provides this tipping point – so playing an important part of an online PR campaign.
Can so much experience simply be wrong? Just think of these recent campaigns and imagine how they could have reached public consciousness without the media – Apple iPhone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Find Maddie, Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners campaign.