Online public relations is becoming an increasingly important method of marketing goods and services for companies as the UK’s local newspaper industry declines, an expert has claimed.

Mick Thorburn of Net Visible told UTalkMarketing that figures from a parliamentary select committee indicate that more than 50 per cent of the local newspapers in Britain are expected to close by 2014.

"The crisis within the local newspaper industry means that companies who may already be struggling to attract new customers can no longer rely on this bedrock of local interest to deliver," he said.

While print media declines, Mr Thorburn said the internet is becoming increasingly commonplace, with over 60 per cent of the UK population regularly going online.

With around half of these web users searching for local goods and services, online marketing services are becoming a vital alternative for companies looking to reach new customers, he added.

However, Net Visible says online PR has to be correctly targeted, as many businesses are focused on a particular city, region or country.

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