Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Tue, 28 May 2002 09:42:32 GMT

Flash Hall of Shame (#4)

Pan Communications has a truly awful Flash intro and to compound its awfulness there’s not even a skip intro. Good to see a PR agency putting all their faith in advertising…

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Flash Hall of Shame (#3)

Acclaro International…no more needs to be said

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The Internet…Is PR just roadkill?

Any research I find regarding how the Internet will change or affect the PR industry seems to declare that the key change in the post-Internet PR landscape is speed and that the Internet is making everyone’s job easier.

There is something rather worrying about this belief among practitioners. In an ongoing series, I take a look at these findings.

Speed
PR people are obsessed with speed on the Internet. But is speed one of the core change agents? I think not. If speed was the ‘killer application’ then pre-Internet agencies would have been boasting that their account executives could type fax numbers faster than any other agency, or they have the fastest stamp lickers on the Eastern seaboard.

There’s no doubt that the Internet is fast and does introduce a new element of speed to all our activities. But speed as the defining change on the Internet? What about communities, changed behaviour, PR’s growing role communicating outside the media? Speed is a charateristic, but not an agent of change.

Making life easier
The Internet does provide tools to automate a lot of activity that previously accounted for much of people’s time in the PR business. But the belief that the Internet will make PR people’s lives easier is misplaced – seriously misplaced.

The Internet provides a new environment that sits alongside, not replaces, traditional media outlets. It fosters new behaviour among audiences, and opens new opportunities for the PR profession to communicate with these communities. But these opportunities are challenging and potentially make all our jobs harder and longer. The Internet may have made our job easier in the mid-90’s, but in 2002 a new agenda is brewing and it’s not going to be easy.

Let me know if you have any thoughts by clicking on the small envelope on the right, I’ll be adding more to this stream of consciousness in the coming days and weeks.

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PR Topic: Online versus Offline Coverage

There’s a great article on the Online Journalism Review (a definite addition to any PR person’s Favorites) on how some magazines are responding to a difficult commercial environment by moving online, either as a temporary measure or for good. The three magazines profiled are Darwin, Gadfly and LiP. From the technology sector you could also add Internet Week to that list.

The article was brought to my attention by Adam Sherk on the Adventive I-PR mailing list, where he asks what is the perceived value of print versus online coverage. It’s an interesting question, particularly given our industry’s less than stellar record on bringing PUBLIC (my emphasis) Relations online.

I believe measuring the value of coverage online or offline involves the same metric. How many of your target audience are reading? That’s the measure that matters. A well positioned piece in an online site with 10,000 readers in your target market is, in my terrifically humble opinion, far better than a similar piece in a national newspaper read by 1 million people where none of them are in the slightest bit interested. (I will accept this is a simplistic comparison).

Finding out where your audience is offline and online is the biggest challenge. If publishers can successfully attract the right audience using an online zine, a print version or both – they will thrive.

Written by Tom Murphy

May 28, 2002 at 10:42 am

Posted in General

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