Before the web, organizations had only two significant options for attracting attention: Buy expensive advertising or get third-party ink from the media. But the web has changed the rules. The web is not TV. Organizations that understand the New Rules of Marketing and PR develop relationships directly with consumers like you and me.

In the old days, traditional, nontargeted advertising via newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and direct mail was the only way to go. But these media make it very difficult to target specific buyers with individualized content. Yes, advertising is still used for megabrands with broad reach and probably still works for some organizations and products (though not as well as before).

Moreover, the messages in advertising are product-focused, one-way spin. Advertisers can no longer break through with dumbed-down broadcasts about their wonderful products. The average person now sees hundreds of seller-spun commercial messages per day. People just don’t trust them. We turn them off in our minds, if we notice them at all.

The Old Rules of Marketing

Marketing simply meant advertising (and branding). Advertising needed to appeal to the masses.

Advertising relied on interrupting people to get them to pay attention to a message.

Advertising was one-way: company to consumer.

Advertising was exclusively about selling products.

Advertising was based on campaigns that had a limited life.

Creativity was deemed the most important component of advertising.

It was more important for the ad agency to win advertising awards than for the client to win new customers.

Advertising and PR were separate disciplines run by different people with separate goals, strategies, and measurement criteria.

Public relations work has changed. PR is no longer just an esoteric discipline where companies make great efforts to communicate exclusively to a handful of reporters who then tell the company’s story, generating a clip for the PR people to show their bosses. These days, great PR includes programs to reach buyers directly. The web allows direct access to information about your products, and smart companies understand and use this phenomenal resource to great advantage.

The web has changed the rules. Today, organizations are communicating directly with buyers.

The Internet has made public relations public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on media. Blogs, online video, news releases, and other forms of web content let organizations communicate directly with buyers.

The Old Rules of PR:

The only way to get ink and airtime was through the media. Companies communicated to journalists via press releases.

Nobody saw the actual press release except a handful of reporters and editors.

Companies had to have significant news before they were allowed to write a press release.

The only way buyers would learn about the press release’s content was if the media wrote a story about it.

The only way to measure the effectiveness of press releases was through clip books, which noted each time the media deigned to pick up a company’s release.

PR and marketing were separate disciplines run by different people with separate goals, strategies, and measurement techniques.

The web has transformed the rules, and you must transform your PR strategies to make the most of the web-enabled marketplace of ideas.

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