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Has Sem Replaced Public Relations?


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#1 Jozian

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 01:31 AM

I ran across an interesting post on 10000 Marshmallows and wanted to get your take on this:

Buzzards Circle Over the PR Industry re: the response to Guy Kawaski's post: The Top Ten Reasons Why PR Doesn't Work

Seems like this is turning into an SEM vs. PR debate, which I would normally consider hyperbole and maybe even the self-aggrandisement of SEM by it's practitioners.

But I'm not sure that there isn't a big grain of truth here: the market and the way people communicate has changed. PR, in some senses, is an old school viral tactic built on seeding news organization / opinion-makers with the right information and spin. Has PR then been superseded by SEM because those opinion-makers no longer hold sway in an SEM world? And do their tactics lack the speed and pervasiveness of SEM?

-Jeff

Edited by Jozian, 30 May 2007 - 01:32 AM.


#2 bwelford

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 05:19 AM

This is just yet another example of the way the world has changed given the existence of the Internet. The explanation of the effects started off with the ClueTrain Manifesto in the 1990s.

It's the same contest you'll see in a number of fields as a result.

In the left corner under the banner of Push Marketing, you have traditional big company advertising, traditional PR, product-driven thinking, Web 1.0, etc.

In the right corner under the banner of Pull Marketing, you have some parts of SEM, SEO, SMM, customer-centric thinking, Web 2.0, etc.

I think it's quite clear how the battle is going.

#3 SportsGuy

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 06:56 AM

I personally think PR and SEO go hand in hand.

The Internet has opened new ways of spreading news releases as fast as a click and a server can process data.

Since many of these releases end up logged "in the open" on the Internet, they can be optimized,a nd over time, will end up driving traffic to the links listed in them.

The key is knowing how to manage the process. :)

I know some folks who do this very well (Greg, Jamie and the crew at SEOPR) and from what I've seen, it works.

I think PR is the immediate thrust to spread the word of a news-worthy item. Sure, it's abused by many, but those watching for fresh releases have a trained eye and quickly separate the wheat from the chafe.

I don't think it's an either/or proposition. Both have a place in a complete marketing plan.

#4 Ruud

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 07:49 AM

Has Sem Replaced Public Relations?


SEM can provide a mechanism to perform public relations. It can hardly replace it.

And of course when you're talking about professional PR you're talking about relations, networks, connections, knowledge. PR isn't about wildly launching search engine optimized press releases. It's a skillful art.

When you hire a professional PR firm you naturally want them to have the skills to utilize all media as necessary. That, to me, is where the SE stops.

#5 Guest_joedolson_*

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 12:13 PM

"Replacing Public Relations" is kind of a meaningless statement - what is any business without public relations? SEM has important repercussions for PR, and can be a highly effective tool for managing PR, but all it does is provide an extra tool for the same service. Even assuming that, at some point in the future, all non-web and search based media have ceased to exist and humans perceive companies purely through search, all SEM becomes is the medium by which PR is performed.

SEM is a method and a medium: PR is a task. SEM is used to perform tasks.

#6 EGOL

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 12:39 PM

Isn't PR a process that is independent of the medium? SEO just ads a new medium, I think. Face-to-face, print (in its many forms), radio, TV.... and now the web (in its many forms).

SEO simply expands the reach of a single online channel - search engines.... and there are many more online channels.

#7 manager

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 03:14 PM

Has Sem Replaced Public Relations?


I my humble opinion that's like asking if cars have replaced transport. :D

Trev

Edited by manager, 30 May 2007 - 03:16 PM.


#8 Jozian

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 03:46 PM

Thank you all for your input.

I agree with the sentiment expressed that it's not "either or" question and that the comparison is not apples to apples.

But in terms of the future configuration of our industries, I think the question has validity.

Joe Dolson wrote: SEM has important repercussions for PR, and can be a highly effective tool for managing PR, but all it does is provide an extra tool for the same service.

What I was really trying to get at thought is more this:

Are traditional PR agencies losing battle and clients to SEM firms?
And if so, is this because:

1) Market/technology changes?
2) Traditional opinion-makers and venues now have less impact in our world?
3) Traditional PR agencies are failing to adapt and extend their tactics?
4) SEM firms now encompass PR tasks as part of their scope of work?
5) All of the above?

-Jeff

Edited by Jozian, 30 May 2007 - 04:48 PM.


#9 EGOL

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 04:26 PM

Right! All of the above.

The old geezers in that biz need a wake-up call. I think that print media is taking a hit too!



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