A survey by Webitpr and noted on E-consultancy.com reveals that traditional PRs think that fellow practitioners are incapable of performing comprehensive online PR campaigns.Having spoken to many hard working, imaginative, and successful PRs over the years, it is clear that the PR industry is aware of the importance of online PR – certainly the survey results show that almost all respondents consider it essential. They see the benefits.

If we are to improve the situation, there are three core issues for agencies and in house to address:

  • Investing time in research, development and play
  • Open internet access and trust
  • Budgets that reflect the importance of online

For agencies and in house alike, understanding online PR and social media is time consuming. You have to play in MySpace and Facebook, you need to invest in uploading SEO releases and measuring and testing everything. Allocating time to play and explore online is a must.

Everyone at IF has access to the whole internet and the opportunity to trial tools and explore new online properties. There is no monitoring, site bans or restrictions (I know of plenty of places where PRs can’t access the BBC online, let alone social networks). The truth is that if you set the right culture, you will benefit from this knowledge with great results and a deeper understanding of online than just learning out of a book or a training course.

With budgets for online activity still not comparable to traditional PR it is not surprising that many PRs don’t invest this time in R &D. Whilst clients and companies treat online as a trial and test, the investment of time is hard to justify. But budgets are growing and as CEOs understand the importance of online, they will allocate budgets that reflect this rather than just paying lip service to its value.  

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