Public Relations & Digital era

Editor: Maria Memo

In the very recent past (or is it really the distant past?), public relations was confined to media relations. A successful PR manager would maintain the best of relations with the key journalists, trying to promote his clients – persons, brands or products – to the print media, the radio and the TV.  

The internet and the social media changed it all. Target groups – the most powerful and important ones for sure – have shifted from the traditional media to internet and digital platforms, forcing PR agencies to align, learn, understand and apply effective ways of promoting their clients in the new and brave digital era!

In the beginning, Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web. We thought that this was enough of a revolution. But then Zuckerberg created Facebook. Add to this YouTube, Twitter, Instagram et al. and you have the full image of internet and social media today. And of course it’s the invention of the mobile devices with their endless possibilities to receive and transmit data and information and to transform any given person to a “micro-influencer” that have completely changed the rules of the game.

All the above have led to mega-changes and challenges for the PR industry, such as:

  • Mass or homogeneous audience is an obsolete term. PR pitches need to focus on specific groups.
  • Exact metrics provide now digital PR with results that are better quantified, evaluated and customised whereas through traditional media (TV, radio, print media) only general estimations could be made.
  • Influence possibilities have vastly increased, as PR can now turn its audience into advocates and promoters of a brand or company
  • At the same time, risks have extensively increased as a simple negative comment makes instantly the round of the digital world. PR professionals’ margin to deal with negative news is literally very small. They need to prepare their reaction and be able to respond in real time.

Nevertheless, it’s not true that traditional PR is dead. A well-crafted and circulated press release can still be the basic tool for generating positive results. A combination of tools with the parallel use of internet, social media, blogs and videos enhances the penetration of the message. Integration is the key word. Traditional and digital PR need to go hand in hand and will continue to do so.

PR has gone digital, but it hasn’t changed in its core. Its principles and goals remain the same; it’s the tools that have changed. People, brands and companies will always want to communicate, to provide valuable and powerful messages to every specific group of interest. It’s just that the digital era tools reach a much wider audience, transforming PR to a more complex, yet interesting, task. Only needs to have the ambition and passion!

References:

En.wikipedia.org, Available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee  [Acc. 29 March 2019]  

Ritu Bararia, July 4, 2018, Is traditional PR fading in the digital era?, Available at http://reputationtoday.in/little-joys/traditional-pr-fading-digital-era/ [Acc. 29 March 2019]  

Ronn Torossian, September 9, 2018, The future of PR in a digital world, Available at http://ronntorossian.com/digital-public-relations/, [Acc. 29 March 2019]  

Resources.audiense.com, The evolution of the Public Relations industry in the era of modern digital media, Available at https://resources.audiense.com/blog/the-evolution-of-the-public-relations-industry-in-the-era-of-modern-digital-media, [Acc. 29 March 2019]  

Robbie Wright, July 6, 2018, It’s Time To Integrate Your Public Relations And Digital Marketing Teams, Available at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/07/06/its-time-to-integrate-your-public-relations-and-digital-marketing-teams/#2a9650103120, [Acc. 29 March 2019]  

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1 Comment

  1. Viva traditional PR! 😀 I can relate to your point regarding traditional PR not being dead. It certainly is not. However, while it is not dead it has to evolve and I think it is important for the industry to understand the urgency of it. On the other hand, what comes to mind is that going digital for the sake of it, without considering the real needs of the company, does not play out well. As you very well pointed out, the right combination of new tools and the ‘good old PR skills’, could be a winning hand.

    Like

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