Public relations was developed in the late 19th century. It caught on as a formal business unit at the beginning of th 20th century. Since then it has not much changed. What does classical PR look like?
This is a process that has been working more or less effectively for print publicity. However, the print media is losing traction. Now a lot of PR agencies claim to offer "online PR." What they mean is that some of the offline media will have online outlets and that they can be contacted in the same manner. Besides that they will be trying to work with a bunch of bloggers, which they will pay to publishing articles. However, you cannot pursue online media in the same way you have handled classical PR for ages. It's time for a market disruption in the old fashioned public relations sector.
The new PR is based content seeding, which is a sub-strategy of content marketing. To effectively spread content online you need to gear up the content creation. Sorry, press releases with a bunch of fancy photographs wont hack it! What you need publish are e-books written by expert authors (not by internal editors who research them superficially on the internet), you need elaborate interactive social media campaigns, viral videos, original studies, you get the picture...Never before have we dealt with such an abundance of great content, so you need to create content that sticks out and can beat the competition.
Instead of focusing primarily on a bunch of journalists and bloggers, you will want to focus multipliers on all sorts of media like twitter, facebook, online platforms, NGOs, from the government, all of which have the power to influence public opinion via online channels. And instead of contacting them with press releases and random mailings you will phone them up and cater specifically to their needs. To make the process really effective you will use a CRM to document all conversations and to work with publication pipelines. With such an effective process you can even be paid on a performance basis, based on results (publications) rather than effort (man days).
After a century of the existence of public relations it is a dead man walking and will be gradually replaced by the more online focused and effective content seeding.