April 17, 2017

The more public relations changes, the more it stays (fundamentally) the same

Mary MahoneyBY Mary Mahoney

J. Robinson Group Blog

The rise of the internet, mobile and social media, along with the erosion of daily newspapers and traditional news media, has – like everything else – dramatically changed the public relations industry.

social media content

And while the changes offer a host of new opportunities for companies adept at integrating new technology and communications platforms across their public relations and marketing plans, they also present a host of new challenges.

From tapping social media “influencers” to using pay-to-play and other third-party sites and media to position your company and your executives, public relations has come a long way from the days when the industry was marked largely by press releases and relationships with newspaper and television reporters.

Today, countless online outlets and social media platforms offer opportunities for you to post photos, video and sponsored content.

The basics often get lost in the shuffle, however.

You can have the brightest technological and social media minds running your public relations campaigns, but if you are bombarding your followers with irrelevant photos and messages, the whole effort may be not only a waste of time, it may even be counterproductive.

We discussed the different social media platforms in a recent blog. But regardless of the medium or media you choose to use, you still need to start any campaign by identifying your target audiences, and then developing the key messages you want to convey. From there, you can set about tweaking and adapting your messages to different media, from the traditional press release and blog formats to the social media platforms that are most appropriate to your audience.

One of the hottest new trends involves use of “influencers,” people who have large followings on social media.

In a blog about new trends for the PR service Cision, technology expert Katie Linendoll notes that while consumer trust in traditional media and advertising has declined, Twitter says we now trust influencers as much as our friends. Even more astounding, she says, is a Nielsen survey that says 92 percent of us trust recommendations from individuals we may not personally know, such people are perceived as “social media stars” in the industry and in what brands communicate.

This means, if you don’t have a strong influencer marketing program set for 2017, you will be way behind, she says.

Another hot trend public relations should be keeping close tabs on is the use of video across all formats.

recent report from Cisco predicts 75 percent of the world’s mobile traffic will be video by 2020.

Still, with all this technology, there remains a solid role for the basics, even the reliable old press release. While the number of traditional outlets like daily newspapers is shrinking, the audience and potential reach of a good, old- fashioned news release is growing – if you use the right tools.

Paid distribution services often gets news releases posted – verbatim – on traditional news web sites. There also is a host of pay-to-play services targeting specific industries that will post your releases for a small fee.

So as you develop you PR plans for this year and the years ahead, stay on top of the new trends – but don’t forget your basics.

In later posts, we will explore the promises and challenges of mobile, big data, connecting with millennials, and future media, such as virtual reality.

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