Digital PR 7 years later.. #TBT

Thursday, February 19, 2015
Grant Whiteside

There’s nothing like looking back looking at the archives at what we were having discussions about in 2008. The sentiment of what we were talking about hasn’t really changed. I wrote this original blog post while I was still in my 30’s and X Factor’s Alexandra Burke had the best selling single of the year, I recall being disappointed with the state of the music scene and the terrible press release platforms that were pretending to be of service to the internet marketing industry both in equal measures.

In hindsight, I was right, it turned out the music was terrible with no shelf life and those ludicrous press release platforms turned out to create more problems than they were ever meant to; because they didn’t understand how Google indexed and ranked content and how it would continue to work in the future without mass duplication generated by ‘press release’ platforms.

So here is an excerpt from the marketing predictions of 2008, where PR and search were beginning to make some kind of alliance as disruptive industries started to collide.

“We’ve got a dilemma here, what’s new and what’s going to be big in 2008 are two different things. 2008 will see major brands actually addressing social media as a norm. We will see real integration between social media marketing and SEO and search marketing efforts combined.

Traditional PR now cannot survive and be effective without integrating it with the tried and tested knowledge of SEO and targeted search marketing. The power of Social Media Marketing and how it deals with ever increasing amounts of user generated content will truly develop the Search Reputation Management industry.

It is now commonly recognised that search engines have long passed their original purpose of being information retrieval devices. Search engines can now make or break a company on the reputation that is conveyed on the first page of the search results.  Search engines provide shelf space for reputation, how this space is filled depends on the technical and marketing abilities of those that fill this space.

Some brands will win, some will lose, this will depend on the decisions made at board level and how they address the integration of online PR and marketing.” 

Isn’t it ironic that 7 years after the initial conversations about the economics of reputation in a digital environment took place it is only really an agenda topic now.

Strategies, techniques and tactics of how you create visibility and how you measure its outcomes are something that is discussed at board level rather than something that was hushed up between the PR team and the SEO geeks that knew how to make something appear or disappear on a search engine.

In 2015, Google now knows that it cannot afford not to index tweets, handles and hash tags as what happens right now, this very minute is what is relevant to so many searches.

A lot has changed in the past 7 years, yet in the same breadth; nothing has apart from the ability to measure marketing and PR outcomes and the investment that brands put into understanding the data that is created from the conversations they create.

Do you think we will be looking back in 2023 with the same mind set? or will technology have taken us so far away from where were right now (or where we were in 2008), that we can scoff at what we did in the past and smile fondly at the dinosaurs of the past.

#TBT