Previously, it was a common belief that Public Relations is the exclusive functions of drafting and distributing press releases, securing interviews on radio or television, compiling thought leadership pieces, conceptualizing events and managing reputation and crisis communication.
However, the role of public relations has evolved.
The introduction of digital and social media
The introduction of digital platforms and social media has significantly impacted on the traditional way of doing things.
Content is increasingly becoming more visual and the time people are allocating in their day to give their full attention to the story we are trying to tell, has decreased from minutes to seconds.
As a result, Public Relations had to progress with the times.
The core of what we do remains the same: To tell captivating stories and establish and maintain strategic relationships with the media, suppliers and producers. However, how we implement these skills and who we consider as key stakeholders has evolved.
As PR professionals, we now add
- brand advocates
- and trade associations
to our list of partners to reach a wider audience.
Public Relations vs Media Relations
We also now differentiate between public relations and media relations.
Media relations is a subcategory of PR and refers to PR practitioners working with journalists to tell a story. Public relations refer to communicating with our target audience through creating innovative content.
According to BizcommunitySA the PR professional will also become more of a content partner for the media, identifying opportunities for news and becoming the provider of visual assets that the media can use.
We have experienced this trend first-hand. Our function has superseded only distributing press releases.
PR in the Digital Age means that we are now seeking brand advocates and influencers with an authoritative voice on social media and digital platforms and that we too must become brand custodians in our own right.
We can also now measure the effectiveness of our campaigns like never before.
Being able to use Google Analytics and SEO has become an integral part of implementing successful PR campaigns.
This also means that we can use these analytics to target our audience down to their specific geographical area and compile our message based on their specific interests and preferences.
As a result, we no longer only target broadcast, print and online media to reach our audience, but target our communication campaigns to social media and digital platforms.
Public Relations continues to evolve.
It is imperative that PR practitioners stay informed about insights and discussions in the industry, and embrace “classical” and “digital” PR as two sides of the same coin.