Wednesday, July 06, 2005

More on distributed public relations

If the top Google returns for "distributed public relations" only
include "distributed" as a verb, as in a resume item stating that
someone "distributed public relations materials," and if none of the search
results use the words to describe a type of PR practice, can I claim to be coining
the term here? ;-)

Here's a first shot at a definition, with an immediate nod to Dan Gillmor for
his work with the concept of "distributed

distributed public relations: n. intentional practice
of sharing public relations responsibilities among a broad cross section of an organization's
members or employees, particularly in an online context

Distributed Public Relations? Blogs, and the "Long Tail"

From PRWeek's article on what Chris Anderson's "Long Tail" concept means for public relations: enabling its [Microsoft's] employees to write about their work and share personal views, Anderson says it has given him a better connection with the company. The sum of those voices (the "Long Tail" of minor players at a company) impacts him more than the messages coming from the top.

"It communicates the company's message in a way I want to hear," Anderson says. "[The employees] have become Microsoft PR."
Anderson sees the "Long Tail" having a lasting effect on PR, in general, and media relations, specifically....

This is right in line with our hypotheses in the experiment we ran last semester. The article's out for review, so we don't know yet if the journal we submitted it to will publish it. We're still waiting, but I think it's safe to share the

This study explores the role of corporate blogs in relationship building. First, operational definitions of relational maintenance strategies appropriate to online public relations are developed and tested. Next, these constructs are used to test hypotheses evaluating potential advantages of corporate blogs over traditional Web sites; corporate blogs are found to have a significant advantage in conveying a “conversational human voice.” Third, the variables are found to correlate with perceived relational outcomes in an online setting.

In any case, it's good to see we have an audience at the intersection of theory and practice for the idea I'll call "distributed public relations."