To evaluate the public perception of a product or an individual, public relations experts must conduct market research and situation analysis and respond appropriately to the results. Traditional PR techniques have involved press releases, satellite feeds, wire service distributions, publishing information in various outlets, product placement on television and radio, press conferences, and media events.
Although these standards of PR still provide a solid foundation for marketers, modern approaches to PR have grown exponentially in recent decades thanks to the Internet. The Internet provides valuable PR opportunities that often eclipse standard marketing strategies. Tools such as search engine optimization and social network marketing allow marketers to deliver information about a product or service to targeted or global audiences, dramatically increasing their exposure to various markets and media.
Internet newsgroups allow you to reach the public much faster and easier than traditional PR methods. By monitoring these groups and joining into discussions, you can make a direct connection to people who have specific interests and then establish yourself as a subject matter expert. But be careful to keep your advertising to a soft-sell approach; regular visitors to newsgroups can spot a sales pitch a mile away. Once you determine the best newsgroups to use for getting the word out, be sure to visit them often. When you create your personal profile, be sure to include the name of your business and a link to your website in your signature so that every post you make will include that information. Once people begin to realize that you really are an expert, they will want to visit your site to learn more. In addition to newsgroups, you can explore the Internet to find websites that allow you to reach the media at little or no cost. Sites such as ereleases.com, prnewswire.com, and Yahoo will post news releases for a per-post charge or by subscription, while PRWeb allows companies to post press releases free of charge. To send dozens of press releases to a list of media outlets specifically targeted to your industry, visit eNewsRelease, a customized wire service. Bacon’s, one of the premier media listing services, can distribute a press release to a customized audience chosen from a database of print and broadcast journalists. Getting the word out to the public has never been easier. The Internet has opened the door to a huge global audience of potential customers who are just waiting to hear about the product or service you have to offer. All you have to do is walk through that door and introduce yourself.