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The Future of News Releases in the Internet Age

Instructor: Wendy A. Garland

Wendy has a Ph.D. in Adult Education and a Master's Degree in Business Management. She has 10 years experience working in higher education.

Explore how the Internet Age and its current trends influence the future of news releases. Learn how companies and brands manage their image in press releases and the elements of a successful press release for the Internet Age.

What is the Internet Age?

According to PC Magazine, the Internet Age is an umbrella term for the 21st century, in which information travels around the world in seconds and is made available to people in more countries than ever before. It is also a moniker for high-speed communications, the convergence of computers and consumer electronics (CE), and wireless devices.

Growing numbers of Americans use the Internet as their primary source of international and national news. Fast forward another 5, 10, 15 years. How many Americans are not using the Internet to get information?

The Internet's Influences on News Releases in Public Relations

News releases in public relations are affected by several influences. First, technology plays a significant role on how information is transmitted. Second, social behavior in the Internet Age influences how news travels. Thirdly, globalization impacts how press releases and news are exchanged by various communities throughout world.

Technology

People today rely less on the newspaper and television and more on the Internet for news and information. No longer are people just sitting at their computer, either. Instead, smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices make consuming and creating information easier and faster. Advances in technology drive the way data is transmitted and delivered. For example, there is less emphasis on long articles as modern technology allows for things such as adaptive streaming, which adjusts the quality of videos according to the available bandwidth and platform of videos. Regardless of your device, you can stream live coverage in real time with minimal buffering.

Social Behavior

Public relations is no longer a one-way activity. It is personalized and interactive. Consumers now provide instant feedback and share news and information on various social media platforms. We have apps that track specific words and topics for personalized updates. We also can follow multiple sources aggregating the top news across platforms. As news releases are sent out, they can be spread virally with additional personalized commentary by others. Public relations personnel need to be aware of their followers and how to manage both positive and negative information.

Globalization

Local news can make international news with the right tagging and social media interest. Even small companies have the opportunity to make global connections and be known across the world. Consumers and companies can use a range of platforms such as Periscope, YouTube, and Twitter to help spread information and connect internationally.

Companies need to be aware, however, that small problems can quickly escalate. They need to be quick to manage outstanding complaints or inquiries so it will not negatively affect their brand and image. Conversely, positive public relations and press releases can be tagged and spread virally. The Internet Age has not only increased the reach, but the speed of globalized news.

Trends in Public Relations Writing for the Internet

There are several trends developing regarding how public relations writing is being managed. As more public relations writing appears online, there's a shift to increase consumer interactivity, search engine optimization, and social media management.

Consumer Interactivity

In addition to traditional news releases, public relations writing now includes smaller 'bites' for publication through social media channels, with an eye toward sharing information. The development of various social media platforms enables end-users to share reviews and interact with brands and products like never before.

Also, no longer is information that companies release a primary source of information. Consumers are shifting to become contributors to public relations as well. Platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube allow people to share company information informally, and post live updates and personal reactions to brands and products.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is naturally generating positive links and traffic for a brand or product. When someone searches key words, a company needs quality links to be first. Public relation firms now often focus on SEO as the Internet is a primary source for information. This is particularly important in news releases. Companies need to be able to rely on their message being seen.

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