Public Relations In The Digital Era

Cloud Based Computing, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Digital Migration… These are all BIG terms that are the stuff of nightmares for the now awkwardly-named, wrinkled & grey haired ‘’Generation X’’. 

The Internet has truly lived up to the term “The Internet of Things” – a place full of wonder, mystery and fake news.  The communications industry has had to keep up with the rapid transition of the global technological landscape, with the introduction of social media adding further complexities to the way we interact with each other & how we strive to find common meaning.  

Public Relations is, now more than ever, necessary to navigating these murky digital information flows full of bots & Russian spies. Traditional Public Relations, in astronomical terms, took us from the Earth to the moon; Public Relations in the Digital Era, on the other hand, with the introduction of 5G technology around the corner, delves into the deep, dark abyss of the cosmos, tries to makes sense of it all and THEN paints a glorious picture for the common man that has both feet planted firmly on the ground.

Untangling the worldwide web, for both, organizations and individuals, has become part and parcel of what Public Relations is in the Digital Era. With the slow and painful death of print, and the rise of camera phone journalists, also known as citizen journalists, the way we curate, consume and disseminate information requires that we pay attention to the following:  

Knowing the BIG difference between traditional and digital PR. (Do we really need both?)

As we all know, Traditional PR uses the old forms of communication that do not require the internet, such as radio, tv and print media – I.e. newspapers. This type of PR really aids with building reputable relationships with top-tier media and is a great way to boost a company or brand’s credibility as the channels are easy to identify.

Digital PR, on the other hand, is a slightly different ball game. This type of PR is similar to the traditional, but different in some areas. While it still relies on press releases for distributing information, it also relies heavily on online communication and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The most pertinent component within digital PR is the use of influencers and bloggers to help spread your PR message. Influencers drive dialogue and conversations among their followers, so building and maintaining relationships with influencers is an integral part of digital PR because it creates brand awareness and boosts the client’s SEO.

Why is PR an important part of the marketing mix

There are different strategies and marketing tactics to implement when you have a PR campaign. PR is an important function for creating brand awareness, developing the message and content marketing.

Brand awareness:

Simply put, this is when a brand is recognized by potential customers, publics and stakeholders, and is associated positively with a product.

Message development:

Good message development is a critical part of any communications plan. Having a clear and concise message is important for your PR campaign, as it helps with understanding and persuading your audience to take action.

Content Marketing:

The point of producing content for press releases leads on to the specific role of content marketing. Content Marketing can be described as marketing that involves or consists of creating and sharing content such as videos and social media posts online. This content is used to attract a targeted audience and will ultimately drive customer action.

In its purest form, PR is exactly that: PUBLIC Relations. It aims to inform, create communication channels, and position brands to connect with certain market segments. Digitization, along with its flurry of technical terms, is just another tool for practitioners to use in achieving these objectives. As more people become connected to the World Wide Web, it will allow larger and more customized audiences to be reached at a faster rate. Curating information is what Public Relations specializes in, whether it is on paper or bits of coding made up of 1s and 0s, PR understands what needs to go where, and will continue to enhance the agendas of those who choose to apply it.

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