Public relations is a very important aspect in marketing a brand to both new and repeat customers. While the practice of public relations was once boldly defined, the recent development of digital media has made dramatic changes in the ways many industries approach interacting with the public at large. In an article originally produced by Zeina Akkawi of PAZ Marketing, the implications of public relations in this era of digital media are clearly addressed to businesses in need.
Public relations was once a clear cut formula. Businesses were able to use routine tricks, like the use of celebrities and ambassadors, to easily reach various demographics within values-driven networks. While businesses were able to adjust a few choice variables, the method to achieve productive public relations was fairly easy to dissect. Now, in the age of digital media, businesses are forced to approach public relations in more creative and dynamic ways.
The ultimate game changer in public relations has been the introduction and immense popularity of social media. While the success of a business’s public relations was once based upon its number of clippings, this has since been converted to things like blog posts, platform comments, and retweets. In turn, this has forced businesses to focus on producing material which people will want to talk about and share online, instead of set material which can be enhanced by a known celebrity or ambassador.
Due to social media’s immense impact on the ways businesses engage with the public, many people have offered the notion that public relations is essentially dead. While digital media marketing has become an innovative tool that has drastically changed the ways businesses interact with the public, this does not mean that traditional public relations is dead. Instead, public relations experts are now finding themselves attempting to integrate new areas of social media research into their current PR practices. There is still a very important link which can be achieved between traditional PR practices and digital media, but is important that businesses focus their efforts in a productive manner.
While social media is an essential tool is practicing public relations in the present day, it can also be a complete waste of time if used incorrectly. PR professionals must ensure they are finding the proper balance between social media’s immense features and their primary goal of connecting brands with new online customers.
One of the most prominent ways of mixing social media marketing with public relations is the production and sharing of press releases. Since many journalists now rely on Twitter to identify and research new stories, it is important for a business to extend any newsworthy material to the world of social media. This will allow to a wide array of journalists to access this information, without having to constantly contact the same routine news agencies.
Beyond press releases, many companies have also found success creating large online campaigns through social media. In these instances, public relations agencies create engaging case studies paired with appealing infographics, allowing millions of online users to interact with a brand in completely new ways.
Despite the challenges digital media presents to current public relations practices, it is clear that innovation will help businesses succeed in this era. Businesses who are more able to adapt to the dynamics of social media and the public at large will ultimately find the most success connecting their brand with new customers.