Last week in a post about advertising from The Times newspaper I warned technical PRpeople that today’s news is no longer tomorrow chip paper.

The phrase has been playing on my mind since I used it because it is becoming more and more true every day. Permanence is now the watchword in PR of every kind. Beware what you say, because it will haunt you, in a very literal way, forever.

Once the only way something you said in the press about a particular issue could affect your future profile would be if a journalist did his or her research and dug up the quote in their archives. Now everything you say in print is also recorded on the Internet in multiple locations for everyone to access at the click of a button. Don’t believe me? Try typing ‘Bill Gates gaffs’ into Google.

Clearly Mr Gates has a higher profile than the marketing manager or MD of a typical engineering PR client. But the case remains in point. Was your last blue widget a failure? You can bet it’s mentioned on a news post, chat room, micro Blog (Twitter) or actual Blog somewhere and when you launch blue widget 2.0 you will be sure to find that it’s still out there.

The solution is managing your brand online very carefully. Here are a couple of free tools to help you get started – Google AlertsSocialMention Alertsand BoardTracker. Of course, it goes without saying that you may need professional help with this, in which case you know what to do.

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