Public Relations and the Web

nostrilshumorousInternet and Web Development

Nov 18, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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Public Relations and the Web

Introduction to Public Relations

School of Communication Studies

James Madison University

Dr. Michael Smilowitz

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What to expect?


Discuss the public relations challenges posed
by the web.


Describe Shelbourne’s recommendations for
website planning and development.


Describe Avila and Sherwin’s life cycle model
of web development.


Offer some recommendations for website
promotion.


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PR and the Web

GIANT developments in communication technology
provide professional communicators with powerful
new tools.



People through out the globe can be in instant
contact with each other.



Huge amounts of information can be cheaply
distributed to millions of people.



Information can be made to appear interesting,
exciting, and inviting to the publics that influence
the actions of clients.

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PR and the Web

Communication technologies have not made the work
of the professional communicator any easier. The
prominence of email and the web require
communication professionals to be well trained.
Clients expect communication professionals:



to create the message content, to design creative
formats, and to be responsible for the distribution.


to provide for instant communication.


to be constantly at the “state of the art” with
technology that changes almost daily.

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The Growing Number of
Websites

A very crowded playing field


Google currently indexes over 45 billion
internet pages.


Blogpost

reports the internet contained 154
million
blogs in 2011.


At least 65 blogs are created every minute.

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PR and the Web

Some specific problems:




The challenge of “standing out in the crowd” leads
to a very innovative and competitive environment.



There are no clear measures of web success.



The nature of web development requires close
working relationships among units not accustomed
to working with each other (the computer wizards
with the marketing and communication geniuses!)



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Why is a website worth the effort?

(Based on the honor’s thesis of Kristen Karapetian, 2003)

1.
Provides for around the clock public relations
programs (asynchronous communication).

2.
Provides for fully controlled communication (no
gatekeepers).

3.
Provides for rapid dissemination of messages to the
media and to both external and internal publics.

4.
Everyone is doing it!


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Planning a web site

Shelbourne recommends that the process begins
by “thinking through the purpose of the web
site.”


How should the client be perceived?


Who is the intended audience? What are their
relevant characteristics?


Is the site intended to provide information?
entertainment? advertising? all of these?


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Planning a web site

Shelbourne

recommends that the process begins
by “thinking through the purpose of the web
site.”


How should the client be perceived?


Who is the intended audience? What are their
relevant characteristics?


Is the site intended to provide information?
entertainment? advertising? all of these?


The better web sites encourage users to return
again, and again, by providing entertainment
value along with important and valuable
information. Techniques include interesting
graphics, fun things to do, things offered for
free, or there may be contests. For a fun
example, visit:

Shell
-
Ferrari.com

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Planning the web site

Shelbourne also recommends careful planning of
the appearance of the site. In particular, keep in
mind that the most frustrating aspect of accessing
a web site is the amount of time it takes to load.


Keep graphics small and to a minimum.


Avoid lengthy
java scripts

and
applets.


Java is a programming language
used by web page designers for
special functions such as moving
marquees, moving graphics, and
other automated actions.

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Planning the web site

Shelbourne also recommends careful planning
of the appearance of the site. In particular,
keep in mind that the most frustrating aspect
of accessing a web site is the amount of time it
takes to load.


Keep graphics small and to a minimum.


Avoid lengthy
java scripts

and
applets.

-

Provide easy to use navigation buttons and a table
of contents.


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The Web Site Life Cycle

Avila and Sherwin, in their book
Connecting
Online,
specify a eight stage model of web
development.

1. Research


goal definition


analyze the competition

2. Specification



Define the features of the web site.



Determine the technology requirements.

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The Web Site Life Cycle

3. Design


Determine the site’s
visual identity

(what is it
supposed to look like?).



Identify the implementation details (who, what,
when, where?).

4. Development



Implement the design



Collaborate with all the involved units (web page
providers, information sources, creative
departments).


5. Testing


Make sure the “thing” works the way it should.

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The Web Site Life Cycle

6. Marketing and release


Prepare for the launch of the web site.


Publicize and promote the web site.

7. Operations and maintenance


Monitor traffic and answer emails.


Publish regular site updates.

8. Renewal


Evaluate the site.


Plan for the next iteration of the site’s lifecycle.

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Site Promotion

Include the URL:


as part of the client’s stationary.


in all printed and broadcast advertisements


in the email stationary of the client’s
employees.


in contributions to discussion groups and chat
rooms.


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Site Promotion

Other techniques:


Reciprocal linking

Contact the owners/managers of related web sites
and offer to link to their site if the same is done
for you.



Develop SEO (search engine optimization)
skills.



Go green.



Go pink.



Learn to be “robot friendly” and “people
friendly.”





What to expect?


Continued increase in the numbers of online
social group participants.


Continued increase in the amount of
information shared in social groups.


Continued increase in the interactivity of web
based experiences.


Continued research into whether these
increases affect purchasing decisions.


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