Public Relation has been around with us for more than a century. A drastic change happened how people communicate and consume content now today, while the traditional PR seem to be stuck in the past. It’s still following an old workflow which is not suited for the new digital age.
Currently, people consume and share content through many channels. The rise of social media and internet has given it a new edge with the introduction of influencers and different stakeholders.
But, if we look into the traditional PR agencies. They are still following their old workflow of static email content. Sending a personalized-yet mass email to the journalists. Using plain contact database and outdated measurement tools.
In this blog, I am going to explain, the states of public relation now. What our future holds and how to lay out an effective strategy to improve your PR efforts for the digital age.
The Current State of Public Relation
It has never been easier to connect, communicate and discuss with the many stakeholders in this digital age. Yet, we see the process of PR is still stuck in the stone age. Social media has given a voice to everyone to be a thought leader. The communication pros can now talk to their stakeholders and media’s are now blended with people’s own opinion.
So what’s holding your PR effort to be better than now?
Is it familiar to you?
Your content writer crafts the story for you in a word file. Throw some relevant images & links in there and transform into a PDF to make it ready for distribution?
While attaching that to an email might still work. But, they are not adaptable to this digital age when other channels are are taking most of the attention of your audience.
Think of it in a way —
Do you like to share an email or PDF to your social channel?
Do you like to download a PDF everytime from your smartphone and read it?
Have you ever seen someone share a PDF doc to their facebook wall or twitter handle?
Using static file actually limits content sharing and accessibility, limiting your reach. There are much better ways to do it now.
Think of medium, you can write, organize your channel and publication and still share everything on social media. While getting feedback, claps or subscription from your valuable writings.
Missing Audience Connection
Your PR releases are getting affected by the nature of the content PR agencies and companies have been making it for decades. Sometimes, PR pros make the mistake that their content doesn’t resonate with their audience.
While PR releases like new HQ location, record profits, new company acquisition is important. But is it what your audience has been talking about?
People are talking about, how Elon Musk sends his Tesla car to space. How Youtube Celebrity Casey Neistat built a drone with Samsung that can carry him over for a snowboarding experience.
Your content should offer the audience something worth spending their time-consuming. In this age of Micro-Moments people’s attention span are getting smaller every day and without compelling content, it’s much harder to get their full attention toward your targeted communication.
With little connection to relevancy, the method is diminishing day by day. The stakeholder’s emails are getting flooded every day, and if you do not know what your stakeholder is interested in and if your email is opened and whether they read them or not.
A twitter description, that I write about tech doesn’t cut out that he/she is going to be interested in all things tech. You have to go through where he/she went, what did they share on social media. What he/she followed on twitter, facebook and what did they write about recently or trends that resonate with their specific tech category. Overwhelming enough?
The Fault in our Follow Ups
Think about your follow-ups over the phone, after you send your stakeholders a mass email.
“Hey there, this is X calling, from Company Y. You’ve probably read my email earlier about Z, and I was just wondering if you had any questions about it that I could answer for you.”
40% time, you may get the answer, what was that email all about? If you do not know whether they opened your email or know them personally good enough, your follow up is going to lead into a wasted effort.
Vanity Measurement System
A common issue to many PR Practioner, that after all of your effort from a campaign, how you are going to measure the effectiveness of your work. Despite all the email blasts, and repeated follow up calls, there’s no guarantee that your content is going to be published or not. Different media and journalist have so spread out that it becomes tough to measure the actual reach of your campaign — some people preferred to talk over the phone and some people reply to your email.
But does that mean, your efforts have no impact at all? Actually, there are other metrics you can use to measure the ROI of your PR campaign when you leave the vanity measurement model out of your system.
In this information age, people can seek out the content that they relate to rather than being pushed by traditional media channels and now they have the choice to use whatever channel and platform they prefer ranges from Snapchat, twitter, youtube, facebook, newspapers or TV channels.
If the PR industry wants to grab the opportunity, they need to evolve, adapt and meet the stakeholders in their own terms.
The Future of PR
Within all marketing disciplines, PR is still one of the most powerful methods and if you deeply think about it, it already has the greatest tool to succeed in this new environment, which is “The Art of Sparking Conversation”.
So, how PR can be adapted to this new digital age?
- Adopting the new segments of the digital era.
- Understanding the stakeholders of the modern age.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While SEO can be overwhelming and long-term to get the desired results, but I cannot stress the fact more, how important it is for you to invest in it.
Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average (visualize them here), which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. They also use 200 ranking factors, so it’s kinda impossible to rank without the advice and service of an SEO professional.
But, still, you will be surprised by the power of a well-written and quality content on the internet and their return on SEO if you take a little time from your busy schedule and invest on it.
The internet has given everyone a voice and some of them are taking the chance to become a thought leader within their community. The rise of social influence is not a myth, but a reality now and chances are they are already talking your audience.
So, why not build a relationship with those influencers, just like the relationships you’ve built with the journalists? You should already have the right skill as a PR pro and if you put a good use of it, this should give you a chance to reach your audience with a new voice.
My agency offers influencer marketing in Bangladesh and SEA region for a range of companies & brand with previous experience working in Fashion, Beauty and Tech Products.
Social Media Marketing
The social media can provide you with an opportunity to converse with your stakeholder or audience directly without the need of a middleman (Journalist or Influencer) and you can use them for company-specific content and build an earned asset of your own.
This can help you become more visible online, increase brand recognition, and improve brand loyalty by actively engaging your audience.
We offer social media marketing in Bangladesh and SEA region for a range of companies & brand with previous experience working in multiple verticals of B2B and B2C.
Content marketing focused on creating well-researched, valuable content that answers its audience’s questions. You should not just focus into the face of your gatekeepers anymore. Content marketing has a specific goal. To convert the reader of its content, that is why your content should cater to the need of your end-audience. These kinds of practices have traditionally been absent from the PR industry.
New Age Influencers
Traditionally, PR pros have primarily reached out to journalists working at a range of different magazines and newspapers, using them as a mouthpiece t communicate with their audience.
But, now there’s a whole new range of influencers that communicate with the people you’re trying to reach. They can be Instagram Vloggers, Comedians, employees, board members, politicians and public interest groups. All of these new age influencers can be targeted and provided with the information that they can share with their peers and audiences.
It’s a must job to know what your stakeholders are up to and what influences them. It’s important that you actively engage with them and employ them as an ambassador for your brand.
Does that mean traditional media are dead?
Not at all. The traditional press isn’t dead yet, radio is still going strong, and television still has a large audience.
That may be true. But, it’s also true that media consumption has become increasingly segmented. Which means the age-old influential power from the traditional channels has also become segmented.
If you want to make a good return from your PR efforts, you need to cover all your bases and start investing in all these new channels.
How can you make it right?
As a PR professional you should already have the necessary skills. Building relationships and engaging new conversation should already be inside of you.
Interestingly, you can adapt it pretty fast with the tools that digital marketing is offering now. You just have to know what’s working well in the digital marketing area and apply your PR skill to be a rockstar in digital PR.
A good story is not worth much if no one is able to read it. A great part of content consumption is happening online today, so it’s logical to share your content online today can make sure it can be easily shared and reused on other channels.
It could be as simple as creating a blog on your brand’s website. Build an automated email newsletter system to your audience using tools like MailChimp, share your content automatically using Zapier or IFFT and definitely optimize your content and technical side of the blog using SEO techniques. We use Yoast and our developers skill combined to optimize our blogs for SEO.
While we are all making content on the internet every day, a quality content still stands out and can engage a targeted audience, It’s important to create content that answers the question that your audience is asking. Marketers like us use tools like Google Trends or Buzzsumo to see what are the keywords and topic people are interested in and can craft content from those insights.
To make a good content, there are tools like Hemingway Editor, that can improve your writing to increase the readability score and Grammarly to correct your small human errors.
Intelligent Contact Management
Excel is outdated for regular contact management and does not serve the purpose of it anymore. So why not organize them in a way that salespeople have been doing it for years. Use a CRM system to log your contacts, send them tracked email, use multiple personalized templates and email sequences that can automate your workflow. It can also help you to provide more insight into your contacts and their company if social intelligence is built upon them.
We regularly use Trello for creative collaboration of content, and Hubspot as a CRM to manage our contact and deal flows.
We are also listed as an official Hubspot Agency providing inbound marketing solution to the companies and individuals.
We already mentioned that vanity measurement metrics do not work in the Digital PR. The right measurement metric can give you the insights into what works and what doesn’t.
Tools like Meltwater allow you to keep track of where your content gets mentioned online. Google analytics is a powerful tool when analysing where your traffics are coming from. Email tracking tool like MailTrack allows you to see whether or not people opened your emails, if they clicked on them, or even replied to them.
The ways of content consumption have changed. A big part of it now takes place in online or mobile devices, social networks and blogs with the rise of new gatekeepers and social influencers.
The key to PR success in this Digital Age is pretty straightforward. It needs to fully adopt the online environment and apply the existing PR skills. It should also bet on influencers and multiple new channels with their existing media channels.
It is an exciting time to work as a PR Pro in the digital age. You’re not losing everything you already have, you’re just expanding your horizon to find better ways to connect to your people that matter to your brand.
If you’re looking to know more about the prospect and opportunities of PR in the Digital Age. Contact me.