Have you given up on traditional PR? You very well might have. Recently, we meet a lot of clients that aim to cut down on PR spending. Companies are shifting their attention to content marketing, social media, or other strategies. They are no longer counting on journalists to spread their word.
Of course, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. PR does still have a role to play in companies’ marketing plans. But we’ll need to adapt this role within the changing communications landscape. We distinguish two major shifts:
1. The blurring line between journalists and influencers
Digitisation is everywhere, but it has sent a particular shock through the press industry. All media outlets, from major organisations to specialist press, have been struggling in an attempt to find the right balance between print and digital content – in other words, between ink and bytes.
When they had hardly surpassed this shock (by sending out a digital newsletter, adopting a new subscription model or more thorough means), a new one hit: digitisation disrupted the media industries and made it more democratic. Established trade names in the news and advertising space got competition from digital newcomers. About anyone with a computer could now position themselves as an expert, attract an audience and make money through advertising.
As a result, journalists are no longer the sole relevant contacts in the world of PR. What you need is a name – some might call it a personal brand – and an audience. Influencers took up part of the space previously occupied by journalists. Traditional press didn’t just let this happen: journalists and editors learned from influencers and built their own personal brands to stay relevant.
Journalists and influencers have higher ambitions than to be an impartial intermediary. They have become advocates for stories that fit into their chosen image and that are targeted at their specific audience. So don’t try and steal the show with an article about how great your company director is, but instead: adapt and play the game.
2. Show me the data
Enough about journalists. Now, let’s consider how fellow marketers or company management view PR. The changing landscape gives rise to issues here too:
- The results of traditional PR can hardly be quantified: how do you measure the impact of that press release you sent, really?
- Analysis without the appropriate digital tools costs lots of time and money. We all have better things to do than crawling the internet for copy, images or videos about our company.
- As a result of incomplete data and proof, it’s hard to convince company stakeholders that your PR efforts are worth the while.
We’ve all gotten used to taking in tons of information when browsing Google, LinkedIn or Facebook. The impactful use of data is here to stay. Without it, you miss out on proving the ROI of PR, but also on coming to the right conclusions and on learning lessons for your next campaign. PR for business should be past the stage of guessing.
There’s no use outlining these issues without coming up with a solution. PR isn’t dead! By embracing the changes that impacted us over the past years, we can indeed make PR more relevant than ever.
Offer journalists a real attention grabber. When writing and sending out a press release, it’s not enough to correctly state facts. You need to present a coherent and memorable story, one that puts your company mission and brand values at the heart of what you do.
Show – don’t just tell – your audience what’s exciting about your industry, and what makes your people experts at their jobs. Value-based, personal, well-targeted articles are the ones that really draw attention, so this is how you’ll get coverage from journalists and influencers.
Last but not least, data can help support your PR. For this, make sure to use the right tools. Meltwater, for example, is a media monitoring solution. It tracks who mentions your company, how often they do so and even how they frame your brand. This is presented with clear numbers and figures, showing you which voices reach furthest in your industry – traditional as well as digital. This way, you can influence growth, better inform your stakeholders and even hope for an increase in your PR budget!
In short, we’re off to a new type of PR. Over the coming weeks, we’ll introduce you to innovative strategies and help you take the right steps.
Watch this space.