Back in 1996 I wrote an article that was reprinted widely in PR journals, called “The Internet Ushers in the Golden Age of Publicity.”

Nearly a decade later, my predictions have been shown true.

How has the Net changed PR? Let me count the ways.

1. In the old days, reporters were gatekeepers who decided what press releases saw the light of day. Now, anyone can post a press release online and have it indexed by news reporting sites and search engines.

2. In the old days, it was hard to reach your audience, now it is easy.

3. In the old days, you needed to rely on the media, or on expensive and prolonged advertising to get your message out. Now you can use your website, e-zines, blogs, chat rooms, and other tools to get your word out.

4. In the old days, stodgy book editors decided which books to review. Now you can go to Amazon and read reviews from serious aficionados of millions of books that newspapers didn’t have the space to review. The same is true of movies, consumer products, business service and anything else people need help with.

5. In the old days, a reporter decided how much of your story to tell, could shade it with comments from your biggest competitor, and remove the part your most wanted to tell. Today, you can post you original source material on your website so the world can see your point of view.

6. In the old days, reporters acted as a mediator to keep things honest so companies couldn’t get away with making wild claims. Now any company can say anything and go virtually unchallenged. While this has positives and minuses, at least companies can reach their core audiences and tell their story. For example, if a company has a labor dispute; they can post their information on the web and their communities can read the info as they intended. In the old days, a report like that would be condensed to fit the space allotted in the newspaper so valuable information could be cut out.

This list can go on and on, but the bottom line is that the Internet has given people a voice and a platform and the opportunity to tell their story as they see it.

Dan Janal
Your Fearless PR LEADER