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Searching for Public Relations

Posted At: February 16, 2009 1:00 PM
by Amy Hannah Burkhalter

As technology has progressed, many people are still discussing the use of it in the world of public relations. Although some controversy has emerged, many agree that the advantages are stronger than the disadvantages. Since Google Inc.’s founding in 1998, it has challenged the ability of public relations professionals to control information. Internet users have an almost unlimited ability to find anything said about the company in a matter of seconds. Technology users can now get on their computers to search for information. Thus, the opportunity for instant information is in their hands.

In his blog, Richard Edelman discusses the benefits of writing quality content and optimizing the opportunities for clients, journalists and bloggers to access that content. He points out that it is not Google’s responsibility to produce content, but only to make content available. This is a non-traditional way of marketing information. Social media and other technologies have enabled users to search on their own for what they are looking for rather than being force-fed only the information that companies want to give out.

A post by Ogilvy PR shows other ways that Google is used as a public relations tool. Public relations practitioners can measure the success of their campaigns by using Google trends to track the number of times their client’s name has been searched during a certain period of time. This is useful to see how effective the entire brand for the client is working. Another way to use Google as a public relations tool is the alert feature that allows you to be instantly notified when specific information is updated. By staying connected to the online community, you can tailor your efforts to the general public on the Web. Public relations professionals who do not engage in online activities are shutting out an entire vital community.

According to a post on Education PR, Google has changed the world of PR. It is true that Google has made information about companies available quickly. It is also true that information, including the good and the bad, is available to everyone sometimes as quickly as professionals receive it. Professionals must tailor their efforts to create proactive strategies in order to combat bad situations and quickly be able to develop reactive strategies. Some proactive ideas include posting videos such as commercials on YouTube or making a blog to fit your company’s needs by giving out the information you would like for the audience to receive.

Although technology has shown professionals that they have to stay on their toes, even more so now, there is plenty you can do to lay the foundation for staying connected to the online world. The key is finding your audience in the online community and directing your messages to them. By keeping up with technology, public relations professionals will continue to use the online community to their advantage.

Photo by Kayla Anthony

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