Internet and PR

By Arieh Levi, Intern

One of my topics of study going into Fusion was the Internet’s impact on the PR industry. With society’s increasing reliance on the Internet for information, answers, reviews and other assorted media, have more businesses attempted to ‘go it on their own’ in this world that grows ever-smaller and more connected, or have businesses been completely overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Internet and, therefore, put more of an emphasis on PR as a tool for success?

What I’ve found has surprised me. Going into Fusion, I was almost certain that my first hypothesis was correct. With members of the media easily accessible through blogs, Twitter, Facebook and the like, it is logical that businesses would reach out through these mediums without the need for PR as that medium. Yet, from what I’ve gathered, it seems that even though the Internet connects us and brings people into contact readily and easily, the amount of information – the constant stream of e-mails pestering members of the media and others – has actually decreased the importance of that e-mail to near irrelevance. For instance, if a reviewer for CNet is conducting a review of desktop management software, within days that reviewer will receive hundreds of e-mails from companies all advocating their products for review. In essence, then, this connectedness has created a reality in which inexperienced businesses regularly “spam” every source of media possible with news of their product, even if that product is only slightly relevant or not at all.

Therefore, the need for PR still stands, perhaps even more so. Although PR firms may also be involved in this “spamming” of the media in the vast amount of e-mails they must send to the media, many PR firms have a mutual trust or relationships with media personnel nurtured over a number of years. For a business to have these same contacts with so much trust is rare, and therefore that business’s email means nothing more to that media contact than the e-mail with the subject line “Get your free iPod today!” Coming from a respected PR company, though, that knows and understands the client and the specific media venue most relevant to that client’s goal, the e-mail is worth something.

In my opinion, then, PR companies are perhaps even more valuable today in this interconnected world, as a PR firm is something the media can trust.

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