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E-consultancy hosted a roundtable to fuel a white paper on online public relations.

Contributors hail from a range of companies, including: COI, Smart Interactive, Direct Line, Mantra PR, Blaupunkt, Hellomagazine.com, Immediate Future, LloydsTSB, Sony, Rodale, Citibank, O2.

In addition to the usual suspect topics, it was good to see “using PR to drive search engine traffic” as a topic, which also addressed public relations and pay per click. “There is a unique opportunity in online PR as you have absolute control over the content of releases. This can play a major part in improving search rankings and driving relevant traffic through to your website.”

“Spreading word offline” was also a welcome subhead. All too often, online enthusiasts shun or downplay the need for a well-rounded approach to public relations-particularly when focused on the medium. But I will say the advice in this section is underdeveloped.

“There should be more cross-promotion, between offline and online media, to generate the best results.” Well yeah, but this means more than making sure everything offline is emblazoned with your URL. We need to start blurring the lines between offline and online strategies. This is more than a consistency issue; it’s an opportunity we’re not tapping into.

The piece also found a red flag for public relations agencies:

We asked those (big brand) clients present at our online PR roundtable the following three questions:

1. Do you have a retained PR agency? – ALL said yes

2. Do you think this “online PR” we are discussing is important and valuable? – ALL said yes

3. Do you have confidence that your current agencies have this covered? – ALL said no”

Bottom line: The piece is strong, and not just because Global PR Blog Week participants are listed as resources at the end of the piece. But early adopters will find the study more of a review than anything else.

Kevin Dugan is the author of the popular Strategic Public Relations blog. Kevin is Director of Marketing Communications for FRCH Design Worldwide.

Visit Kevin’s blog: Strategic Public Relations.

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