On the 1st March the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) announced the result of a vote which resulted in their modern definition of PR. They now state that:
“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
Defining this complex industry defined by relationships, constantly evolving and understanding its various ethical pickles is tough. To do that in a sentence is even tougher. In a class last week I was challenged with writing my own definition in 5 minutes. I concluded with:
“Public Relations is a form of social psychology that recognises the values of different publics in order to create relationships to improve reputation and profit.”
It isn’t perfect but it states an important opinion of mine – PR is no longer just concerned with reputation. The online advertising industry makes their money from direct (or in-direct in terms of re-messaging campaigns) sales. The very same metrics the online advertising industry utilises can also be used by digital PR. So why aren’t we using them?!
Yes, I understand that digital PR tracking sales online questions its classical definition but this is exactly what the PR industry needs. It must adapt or die. So whilst the PRSA claim their definition is shiny and modern… it just isn’t. It has failed to understand the nature of digital public relations.
For the UK digital PR will see an ever growing importance, especially as the UK boasts the largest internet economy in G20. That is an 8.3% share of the UK economy! Let’s not hand over all of this juicy money over to online advertising. Digital public relations can provide equally effective results.
This is partly why I am writing a digital PR dissertation on online metrics. There are a variety of books available concerning online measurement but PR can go a step further. Using the fundamental principles of recognising the values between various stakeholder groups it is possible to target in a far more accurate way compared to, the rather ridged structure, endorsed by the online advertising industry.
I will only say it once again on this blog but Latent Semantic Analytics really offers a whole host of benefits to the digital PR industry. We just have to build a suitable system first!
That’s it. End of blog post before things get really geeky…