February 14, 2012 | By:

A Match Made in Heaven: Online and Offline PR

What is PR? PR, or public relations, is a tricky business. At its core, public relations strategy revolves around controlling the flow of information from your business to the public. To put it in a more simple way, PR is about making people like your company and your products in good times (great products, great prices) and bad (price increases, downsizing, scandals). It is both marketing and, if needed, crisis control.

In today’s world there are two forms of public relations: online and offline. In some ways, they aren’t very different; a small company may send the same press release to both online and offline publications. In other ways the two differ, however, and while some companies may get away with a digital-only strategy, by and large the best results come from doing both…and making sure their strategies complement one another.

The bread and butter of public relations includes writing press releases (essentially short news articles providing information about a company or product) and reaching out to press contacts, such as journalists and editors, to encourage them to cover the news that the company wants people to know.

What is traditional (offline) PR? Offline PR focuses on print newspapers and magazines, television news and radio, and occasionally even long-form journalistic authors. These organizations typically have an editorial calendar which they use to determine what news to report and when. Some of them make their calendar available to PR specialists so that they can target their pitches appropriately. Many of these outlets now have an online version as well, so some work (but not all) can pull double duty.

What is online PR? Most often, an online PR strategy focuses on bloggers and digital-only publications. In terms of reaching out, talking to bloggers isn’t that different from talking to journalists (some are even trained journalists themselves). However, a blog is less likely to have an editorial calendar to help guide your pitches. At the same time they tend to have a much faster response time! Additionally, an unpaid blogger may be able to command more trust and respect than a paid journalist, depending on who’s being talked about and in what industry.

Ultimately, the best strategies incorporate both online and offline PR and ensure that these efforts work together towards a comprehensive goal.

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