Public relations as defined by Philip Kotler is an unpaid form of advertising, a part of your go-to-market strategy that creates a brand pull not by the organization blowing its own horn but by getting people/publication of repute to blow your horn.
Traditionally, PR was about connecting with key media influencers, opinion leaders, journalists. Engaging with them educating them about the brand, its offerings, USP and differentiating factors, thereby influencing them to tell the brand story of its products in a way that was favourable for the brand/ offering & engaged the end customer. The job required making connections with a set media group, writing press releases, holding media events & interactions, and fighting for placement in prestigious publications for the brand.
Then came the digital revolution – often called the Fourth Revolution, it changed the way we communicate and connect. Suddenly everyone with an opinion had an opportunity to voice it, seek out like-minded people, this changed the very definition of an influencer. These changes impacted PR, forcing to adapt & change.
The New-Age PR
In this era of Tweet first, think later everyone is a journalist & everyone is a newsmaker. Blogging and social media have made everyone a publisher.
These changed the PR scenario in two key ways; one the universe of Influencers became dynamic and ever-growing. Influencer today need not be a renowned media person, opinion leader or a celebrity. He or she could be a blogger with a good following, a social media sensation – anyone who with their content or talent have engaged a large number of audience and have a direct connection with them. They have today become one of the most sought-after media for organizations to get their message out to its end customer.
Secondly, the news became more personalized, the online AI through your online interactions learns for tastes and interest and serves you content aligned to your interests.
These changes have brought Content creation to the centre of the PR strategy. Focus is both quality & variety of the messaging for maximum reach and impact.
Media monitoring to map the company sentiment & competition has changed too. No longer is limited to print or broadcast media, it today encompasses the entire online universe- Social media/ Consumer forums/ Employment sites etc.
Public Relations morphed from a mode of making announcements, publishing new releases to storytelling.
A successful PR strategy today encompasses an integrated approach to communication where content rules.
The creativity that was once the advertising team’s prerogative is now an integral part of a PR campaign.
To create an impactful PR campaign, you need to humanize, be an empathetic storyteller, be local, merge data and human truth and create a product/service ambition.
The way organizations today are looking at Public Relations as a function, has changed too. From being a function to get media coverage, earned media and maintaining a public image, to one responsible for managing the Company’s Reputation. Organizations have realized the reputation management is more than just the outreach of your message and monitoring its reception.