For our recent assignment I found a very effective and progressive use of public relations online. Traditional press releases are narrowly focused and offer little coherence or genuine value to the people they are trying to reach . Its important to have a release that grabs your attention, is news-worthy and tells an effective story writers can use, and influencers can identify with. Most traditional releases don't exhibit these qualities. A good remedy for this and an example of PR utilizing Web 2.0 tools is the PR Newswire website and especially their multimedia section. I recently saw a PR video on their site for a new product that locates wanderers - The beauty of the site and the subsequent video is that it actually has relevant quotes given by consumers (mother with autistic child,) and authority figures who have experience with wanderers - (police) and experts (on Alzheimer's) that you can actually see and then use your objective judgment if your a consumer. It contains the "because" of marketing. Which brings me to the point - consumers can find these product releases etc. online, at their fingertips. This type of site is also good for practitioners because of its search engine marketing abilities and the convenient ability to reach target audiences transparently.
An ineffective use of PR online is organizations putting press releases on their websites. For example, I went to Starbucks' site and found a news release and video promoting their new ready-brew VIA coffee. Don't get me wrong, this can be effective, I had never heard of this VIA self-brewing coffee before going to their site. But its ineffective PR for a couple of reasons.
1. I would rather hear raving about a product from an independent source (3rd party advocates -key to PR).
2. Too much hype for the most part. Not enough substance. For example, "Beginning November 17th, and just in time for the holiday entertaining season, U.S. customers will have access to a rich, bold cup...." -from Starbucks.com (*Although, I do think the mentioning of "entertaining" & "the holiday season" is effective messaging and illustrates the brand knows it self well)
3. No originality.