Something really interesting is happening to the PR industry because of the Internet.

This thing called technology has completely flipped the industry on its head. So much so, in fact, PRSA (the trade organization) had to redefine what is that we do for the first time in years.

The new definition is:

Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

It’s a better definition than the one created in 1982, but doesn’t allow for things PR professionals need to incorporate into their skill sets. Things such as web development, mobile marketing, search, and optimized content.

The web, it turns out, is extremely important in the job of a PR professional. Much more important today than it was even three years ago.

It used to be your website was an online version of your corporate brochure. But times, they are a changin’. Your website now needs to be a living and breathing thing that changes daily, if not multiple times a day.

We used to have paid media (advertising) and earned media (media relations). Now we have owned media, which is the content you produce and distribute.

Owned media is great because, if you can write in an engaging and conversational way, while adding value, you no longer have to depend on media buys and influencers and journalists to tell your story for you. You can do it yourself.

PR professionals have always had to be good writers. Writing for the web is not a new skill, but is a twist on the types of writing we’ve always done. Rather than it being newsworthy or polished, it becomes a conversation. Rather than it being a way to shout messages, it becomes a dialogue.

The web is redefining the way we do our jobs and it’s up to us to keep up. I imagine a world where the web is creating 90 percent of our business opportunities, while the remaining 10 percent is still focused on the important face-to-face meetings.

If PR professionals don’t soon figure out how to use the web to their advantage, the industry, as a whole could die.

What are your experiences with PR these days? Let us know in the comments section below.

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm. She also is the founder of the professional development site for PR and marketing pros, Spin Sucks Pro, author of Spin Sucks and co-author of Marketing In the Round with fellow Wood Street guest blogger Geoff Livingston.