Artisan Marketing Communications offers clients PR and marketing communications advice, practical support and implementation.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The deep footprint of the Internet

I looked up an agency today. I was interested to see how effective their online search marketing is and if they used business diaries.

The thing that struck me isn't going to surprise anyone, but you do have to be reminded of the fact constantly. I am talking about the longevity of our Internet footprints.

The agency I looked at had posted stories that were at the time illustrations of success and a rosy future. But things had changed! Partnerships, employees and outlook bear little resemblance to those releases now and that was only 2-3 years ago.

Of course newspapers such as the Manchester Evening News publish their offline content and nationals such as the Times and Guardian are also assiduous in their online activities and developing pre-Internet archives. Yet, many trade journals do not place as much emphasis on their online activities. We have to be aware that a story in hard copy could affect us later if found on the Internet.

With blogs the screw turns some more. I have on my blog over 170 entries; in a year's time that could be 400. Could something I write now be detrimental to me in 5 year or even 10 years? The answer might be yes. If my blog continues for another 5 years, we could be talking about 2-3000 entries. Would I have been the paragon of discretion over all that time? Would my current position be the same?

Online PR must take account of this potential predicament and advise clients accordingly. We must not be over enthusiastic in our predictions and think carefully when we want to release a story.

The Internet does not display chronologically most of the time. Your company could be doing really well and then a story from 5 years ago about closing a division could stubbornly be on the same pages as all the success stories - not the most impressive effect on a potential client.

Of course in business things go wrong, things change and we can only act on what we know now, but be prepared that what you might say now might be brought up in evidence against you at a later stage.


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