Just like nearly every other aspect of our lives, digital communication has significantly changed the world of public relations over the past several years. PR professionals have had to adapt to these changes on the fly, embracing the intersection of public relations, content marketing, blogging, social media and countless other digital strategies and techniques.
Today, PR professionals must take on an ever-growing number of responsibilities, in addition to their more traditional roles of pitching stories and enhancing their clients’ profiles. They now must engage in dynamic online conversations and forge deep connections between brands and their target customers.
In other words, earned media now goes far beyond getting a reporter to write a story about a brand. Digital PR requires practitioners to get people interacting with a brand’s content in meaningful ways—most often through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, among many others.
A blending of digital PR and marketing
One way to look at these recent trends is that they are bringing the once-separate worlds of public relations and marketing closer to together—sometimes to the point at which it’s difficult to tell the difference between the two. Marketing is typically defined as the promotion of products and services to consumers, while public relations is the creation of positive impressions of a brand in the eyes of a wider audience.
In the past, achieving these two goals often involved very different tactics. But today, marketers and PR professionals frequently find themselves using the same tools, including the development of engaging content that promotes products/services and enhances a brand’s reputation at the same time.
In an agency setting, this means PR professionals and marketers must work together and plan their efforts so that they support each other’s objectives.
Less control over the message
Another significant change the PR industry has been the fact that practitioners no longer have the same level of control over their clients’ messaging as they once did. This can be particularly difficult to get used to for veteran PR professionals. Through digital PR, you can start a conversation online, but once you do, it can be incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to control that conversation.
There are some inherent challenges to this reality, including the fact that social media users can quickly destroy a brand’s reputation in a matter of hours. However, the good news is that consumers tend to trust the information they receive from their friends and family members about a brand, product or service, much more so than they do when that information comes from the brand itself. To that end, digital PR offers a great opportunity to start a conversation that gets people talking about a brand in positive ways.
As technology and tools available to communicate with audiences continue to evolve, digital PR will keep changing as time goes on. The practitioners and agencies that stay on the top of these changes and the latest trends in the industry will be the ones who continue to provide the greatest value to their clients.
ProPRcopy is a respected content creation service that serves as a valuable partner to public relations, marketing and advertising agencies throughout North America.