As the media industry continues to shift, the world of Public Relations is moving as well. Digital communication, the nearly universal use of the Internet, and the fast-growing dedication to social media and podcasting as news consumption venues are combining to transform how we create and distribute messages and measure the impact of narratives.
That’s not to say public relations as a whole is changing dramatically. The tools are different, but the principles are steadfast: people still want to communicate, and they still want to present a specific message to a specific group. Brands still need to represent concepts and ideas that increase consumer appreciation and decrease the potential for creating drama or crises.
That said, the way people consumer content is definitely shifting. People have been saying “print is dead” for some time now. While there’s no doubt there’s been a shift, that pronouncement continues to be proven premature. There will come a time when print is a less-viable business model, but it’s not now… at least not yet. Print publications still have massive power and influence, although the smart ones are crafting a robust online presence as well.
And it’s no longer good enough to just have a website. You need a robust and multilayered online environment, an engine that creates experience and relationship. That’s why video marketing and podcasting have become so popular.
Video and audio media have the benefit of feeling more relational, sometimes more personal, and options like Facetime, livestreaming or other forms of “real time” interactive marketing not only allow for but encourage deeper audience participation.
This shift in available tools has also created some interesting new opportunities. PR pitches are more focused on specific groups, rather than ‘big tent’ messaging. Sure, you can have a central idea or message, but you are often better served to have several versions of that central message all geared toward a specific group. This specificity is both driven and encouraged by online marketing options.
As information crunching computers and big data machines get “smarter” and more precise, more able to process greater and more diverse amounts of information, the opportunity to refine your audience will continue to increase.
But your pace will likely need to increase as well. These days your messaging has to be quick and nimble, as well as diverse and targeted. Clients are expecting faster results and consumers are looking for real-time conversations. The pace of the entire industry has increased… and all indicators point to that pace continuing to move even faster in the future. Just as the 24-hour news cycle changed media consumption habits and expectations, the speed of and access to stories will change the way PR companies successfully interact with their audience.