Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The e-Consultancy Online PR Industry Benchmarking Report is creating a few ripples. It seems to me that PR experts are running round in small circles trying to agree: what is digital or online PR?; b: should it be run by specialists, or integrated across the agency?; and who owns it – PR, advertising or, god forbid, SEO? .

Wendy McAuliffe of Liberate Media says that the core element of PR is creating two-way conversations with a target audience. Online forums, social media, blogs (etc etc) – are ideal channels to do this. So I guess online PR is creating two-way conversations with a target audience. Online.

Mat Morrison said recently that his role at Porter Novelli is to get everyone in the agency to ‘be a little bit more digital’ in the way they approach all their PR campaigns. This has got to be the right approach in my view. If you’re trying to get someone to buy something, get to them wherever they are. Whether that’s listening to the radio, on Facebook, on Twitter, in front of the TV, reading the paper, looking at a billboard. All of which might be done online or offline.

Which brings us to who owns it. Of course, PR should own PR. As Wadds says, there are a number of specialist start-ups out there, and they are vital for innovation But whatever they call themselves, they’re still doing PR. Unlike the SEO companies claiming to do PR – I’ve yet to see an SEO company attempt to lead a serious online media strategy. Although it might be good sport.