Marshall McLuhan got it so right more than 50 years ago when he spoke of a Global Village, describing how the world was being contracted into a village by electronic technology.
The author of the book “The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man” predicted the Internet as an "extension of consciousness" involving instantaneous movement of information from every quarter to every point at the same time.
Though he didn’t live to see the World Wide Web arrive, its impact on communication in general, and PR in particular, is profound. Whereas 20 years ago we were still posting media releases to Editors with pictures enclosed (Remember that? Newsrooms filled with typewriters?) now our messages are transmitted not only around Australia instantly, but also around the world.
Mostly this is beneficial. We have clients now who are cheerfully fielding inquiries from quarters as diverse as China, mainland USA, Europe, and (this morning) from Chile, where a mining company was seeking information about a mining technology in a recent article.
Occasionally we get a grumble that a recent inquiry out of India or Europe is not relevant to a client in Australia, but this is easy to address by making it clear early in the story where the technology is available and to whom it is relevant. Such clear targeting of the message saves the Editor’s time as well as the client’s time. It works most of the time.
For the rest of the time, companies such as our own are deliberately cultivating overseas media distribution lists, with great success, as we mirror Australian companies’ success in becoming world entities in their particular specialties. Many of these overseas media contacts are becoming as ‘local’ to us as Australian media contacts are.
We have built a ‘bank’ of overseas contacts because we see no point in fighting with history. Media releases are going to turn up overseas through interconnected media anyway and we see it as a positive benefit that our clients’ potential markets are growing exponentially. Too many inquiries? What a great problem to have.
The major skill PR people need to have in targeting overseas media is to ensure relevance to clients, that we are promoting to the market in question something that that the client supplies to them in that market. Clearly you don’t promote what you haven’t got.
But beyond that – and using a bank of good global contacts – the Global Village is a great opportunity to extend market reach and develop new customers. Because we now truly do live beyond our borders, where our new neighbourhood is the Global Village.