The growth of technology, mobile, and connectivity has changed nearly every industry, but perhaps none more than public relations. To stay successful in PR efforts, you must know how the industry is changing and evolving, and then change your strategy accordingly. Most recent industry changes fall into three main areas:
One of the most obvious changes in recent years is the growth of social media, particularly in mobile outlets. These days you can’t walk down the street without seeing multiple people on their smartphones, which were virtually nonexistent just 10 years ago. It used to be that a bad review could cause a small downwards blip in sales, but now everyone is an influencer and posts about your company (both positive and negative) can go viral in a flash. Social media has revolutionized the research and strategy areas of PR; pros can now break down customer sentiment by demographic and get a fairly accurate sense of people’s thoughts about a product or service. On the other side, social media also allows companies to create organic relationships with their customers. Instead of just being viewed as a large organization, customers can now embark on two-way communication to truly understand their customers and share their message.
To harness this change, don’t disregard social media. It should be seen as a pivotal part of every PR campaign.
There used to be few ways to measure the success of a PR campaign, and the options that were available, such as surveying or counting media hits, were time consuming and expensive. However, the growth of online marketing has provided many tools to measure impressions and other social feedback. Instead of asking small sub-sections of potential customers what they think of your business, you can now find general sentiment on the Internet. Through social media, email subscriptions, and web traffic, you can have a much better view of the spread of your message. With link management, you can even track how much traffic a certain PR tactic brings in and how much of that traffic is converted to sales, donations, or other tangible measurements.
As a result of this change, measurement goals can be much more specific and include both quantitative and qualitative results.
We’ve all heard stories about the collapse of the newspaper business as printed materials move online, and it plays a large role in PR efforts. A truly astronomical amount of information is now available, and people are exposed to it on a nearly constant basis, which means choosing the right media channels is more important than ever before. As “traditional” media outlets, such as newspapers and magazines, close down or consolidate, competition for having a story covered increases. On the flip side, many media outlets have turned to blogging and other “new” methods, which has launched a wave of citizen journalism. Instead of pitching to a big newspaper editor, you may now be pitching to a big-time blogger, which means you’ll need to learn the ins and outs of the platform to target your pitch effectively.
There’s no doubt that PR will continue to change over the coming years, but staying on top of the industry’s evolution can help you and your clients continue to be successful.