As the saying goes ‘change is the only constant’. PR now needs to horizontally integrate and focus on outcomes rather than outputs. In the last few years we have increasingly, through insightful conversations, come across companies who were having bad experiences with traditional PR firms. The need of the hour is to address those ‘Bad Experiences’ through integrated solutions using content and advocacy programs as it helps fill the void and help companies achieve their goals in ways traditional PR has not!
The move into 2018 also comes with some new trends that are entering the marketplace and its high time that the industry pays attention to these. The rise of online has left many industries in a state of flux and traditional PR becoming increasingly digital is no exception.
Looking at some key learnings through this omni-channel landscape….
1.Digital takeaways- Digital public relation is measurable, immediate and produces easily shareable content. The realms of digital PR may not be as specified as that of traditional, but it can help grow a brand in an increasingly online world and make waves in a constantly evolving ecosystem.
2.Traditional PR is relevant- but with explosion in digital consumption of consumers, ability to think integrated and marry traditional PR with social media channels has become extremely important. With a smartphone camera in every pocket, with Instagram and YouTube, a part of daily life, visual media is now firmly entrenched in all communication tools. Such was its impact that media outlets feel a pressure to publish at least one image with every textual story, and data visualization exploded as a business stream, when only a few were expecting to take off.
3.2018 is about creating conversation and fewer press releases- The days of writing and distributing news releases, and then pitching media are in decline. While this process is important and still relevant, I’m finding that incorporating creative visuals in the delivery greatly increases the success rates of placements. In 2017, journalists felt the pressure to get social shares from their editors. So in 2018, PR personnel should ask themselves, “is my content shareable?”
4.How brands don’t distinguish between content, PR and social anymore- Earlier, brands communicated by talking about themselves. It was all about being introspective and showing what they were doing all the time — obnoxiously telling their story to uninterested audiences. Well, this type of approach is no longer valid. It’s not enough to talk about your brand — you need to create content and find people who will help get your content out there. Content is today’s king. Brands must understand that external communication relies on different platforms and resources, such as company blogs, social media and even multimedia content, for efficient distribution. Adapting a traditional press release to a much more visually attractive format may become the difference between success and failure. The era of infographics, marketing automation and thinking outside the box to create meaningful messaging is here to stay!
5.Expanding Skill Set- Need upskilling if you are in the industry and it is at the brink of something very exciting and relevant. Disciplines in PR have always been wide-ranging, and PR professionals have to be flexible and on top of current trends. This could include content creation, corporate communications, crisis management, events, internal communications, media relations, social media, reputation management and much more.
6.Paid vs Earned- Debatable? What part of the eco-system in PR, which is largely to be earned, is going to be now paid. For the longer run, editorial which was once an unadulterated stream, is peppered with paid, sponsored and blogger content. Its to navigate in this world of influencers and micro circles that can emerge as a new stream within the confines of PR 3.0!
– Komal Lath
Komal is the founder of Tute Consult – an integrated communication firm based out of Mumbai. With over 15 years of experience in communications, she has worked with an array of celebrities, international labels and brands. She holds a degree in Anthropology from Oxford University and completed her masters from MICA. Komal teaches at various premium institutes and is a speaker at several communication colleges and forums. She likes to travel and is a voracious reader. She can be reached at @Komall on Twitter and here on LinkedIn.