The New Public Relations  

By Ryan Tomayko under First they ignore you.. on 11. July 2005

Tim Bray posted a doozy a few minutes ago on the changing face of PR, analysis, and trade press:

The Old Public Relations

The mechanism was easy to write down, it went like this:

  1. Senior management, with a lot of input from marketing people, would work out a company’s message and talking points.

  2. Internal marketing people, working with PR consultants, would try to burn the message into the retinas of the trade press and analysts.

  3. The journalists and analysts would do what they do: the whorish segment of the profession regurgitating the company messages to the attention of very few, the independent thinkers producing sometimes-useful analysis of what the companies were really up to.

It never worked that well; to start with, it was expensive and slow. Also, there was a huge conflict of interest: the journalists and analysts, who positioned themselves as independents, were in fact mostly on the payroll of the companies trying to push the messages.

The New Public Relations

The new PR pipeline is a lot shorter, simpler, and wider:

  1. Senior management works out a company’s goals and messages.

  2. Management works hard to make sure that the employees understand them.

  3. The people who are really doing the work tell the story to the world, directly.

It’s important to realize that this change in authority is partially responsible for the rise of LAMP/friends as a viable platform for building real applications. That is to say, these technologies have always been a capable platform but the change in how people receive and participate in information has allowed these technologies to step up and finally begin claiming the problem areas they fill so well.

Our biggest problem is that we don’t talk loud enough.

As an example, would 37signals have been possible even two years ago? I really don’t think so; at least, not in its current form. As much as I love the technical and methodological stuff those guys are pushing out, what I think is most interesting is how well they understand The New Public Relations.

6 Responses to “The New Public Relations”

  1. Michael Schubart:


    Could you please change the RSS feed for this site so that it includes the full posts, rather than excerpts?

    Thanks, Michael

    comment at 12. July 2005

  2. Ryan Tomayko:

    It should be now — I’m definitely a full-content type-a’ guy :) Can you take a quick peek and see what feed you’re pulling from? Both of the following are full content feeds:

    • http://lesscode.org/feed/ (RSS2)
    • http://lesscode.org/feed/atom/ (Atom)

    Is it possible that your aggregrator is configured for summaries only?

    comment at 12. July 2005

  3. Sam Ruby:

    Can you change your atom:summary to text/html?


    comment at 12. July 2005

  4. Ryan Tomayko:

    Yep. Let me dig that up. I’ve been meaning to run everything through the validator… Nows as good a time as any, I suppose.

    comment at 12. July 2005

  5. Ryan Tomayko:

    Okay. The Atom and RSS2 for main posts are validating and the comments feed also checks out. Thanks, Sam.

    comment at 12. July 2005

  6. Michael Schubart:

    Hi Ryan,

    Seems like it was a problem in my aggregator. I’m now using the RSS 2.0 and it works perfectly.

    Thanks a lot,

    comment at 14. July 2005