digital public relations

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.

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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.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.