As traditional PR, ePR is all about goals, objectives (which must be “smart”), strategy, targeted publics, messages, tactics, and measurement. It also has to be integrated within an organization’s global communication strategy, and it is closely related to eMarketing. Unlike ePR, which works on content, online reputation, corporate image, relations with stakeholders, and customers; eMarketing only handles design, online sales and promotion, and advertisement.
The Canadian Public Relations Society’s definition for traditional PR is: PR is the strategic management of relationships between an organization and its diverse publics, through the use of communication, to achieve mutual understanding, realize organizational goals, and serve the public interest. Based on this definition, the ePR ultimate goals are not only to push information and messages on social networks and blogs, but also to contribute to the overall PR and corporate communication strategy, in terms of two-way symmetric communication (ref. : James E. Grunig). Competition and industry intelligence are also an important task of ePR.
Here are some examples of tools used by ePR professionals to communicate with publics: web sites, social networks, blogs, online news forums, online community forums, RSS, news feed, eNewsletters, online press room, smartphone applications, search engines, podcasts, e-mail, electronic format documents and files, web diffusion (conferences and meetings), etc.
Ultimately, the ePR goals are:
Unfortunately, it has been difficult to evaluate the ePR effectiveness. Nevertheless, analytic and tracking engines help professionals to analyze, track, and report, i.e. to measure and evaluate their strategies and operations (ref. Barcelona Declaration); content and relationship analysis definitely takes a big part of digital public relations ROI.
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