By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
Like many of us in the public relations profession, I subscribe to Help a Reporter Out (HARO), the online resource that provides those in the news media with a platform to enlist expert sources for their stories.
My goal: To identify media members seeking commentary on issues involving transportation, because that’s industry I work in at the moment. (An aside: Haven’t read any transportation-centered inquiries yet, but I’ll keep an eye out.)
Earlier this week, there was a public relations-related HARO message — one that caught my attention. The reporter was seeking insight on the use of “digital PR.”
That stopped me right in my tracks, and as an Accredited public relations professional who takes the profession seriously, I felt compelled to respond.
My message stated that there is no such thing as “digital PR.” There’s public relations — the communications practice — and there’s the use of digital resources as part of a strategic public relations program.
Apparently, there are practitioners who disagree with me, as I easily found online reports about “digital PR.” This commentary offered a definition:
Digital PR is all about combining traditional PR with content marketing, social media and search.
And, I found an agency that has “digital PR” in its name. However, I really can’t ascertain exactly what services this firm provides, because the content is in Italian.
Finally, I identified a Florida marketing agency that has branded “digital PR” services. (NOTE: If the folks from this agency read my post, please check your website because the content under the “Born Digital” headline is clashing with the image of the hand holding the tablet.)
I could go on with examples, but here’s my concluding thoughts:
- The public relations profession, which is based on building relationships through effective, ethical communications, will only get marginalized if those of us in the industry allow phrases like “digital PR” to become part of the lexicon.
- Clients who enlist public relations professionals should be made aware that yes, digital communications has dramatically changed the playing field; but digital communications practices should be guided by the same principles and standards that guide “traditional” public relations.
Now it’s your turn: Is “digital PR” a separate management communications practice?