The Changing Horizons of PR Industry
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The long-term future of PR is an integral part of marketing strategy for any brand. All the activities like Public Relations, Digital Marketing, Social Media, SEO, Content Marketing, Corporate Communications and Advertising will be merged to drive business results for brands as the lines blur in the field of communications and amalgamate.
It is not difficult to measure the ROI from Public Relations, and it is essential to understand the role of PR in different marketing and business touch points. Various means can be used to measure the growth and impact of PR such as media impressions, web traffic, lead sourcing, views, social media mentions.
In the ver transient space of communications, we will for sure have something like PR Velocityin the near future, which is,
Agencies of the future will have to look to the changing times and alter their entire approach to the PR exercise. It will be fair to predict that in the future Newsrooms will shrink further and bloggers and content creators will lead the pack for PR, lines of advertising, marketing and PR will further blur.
A summary of few emerging trends in PR are:
- Over the years, companies have started realising the importance of talking to their customers directly. Companies will focus on giving the information and expertise that they have on their own, instead of using an agency or relying on getting endorsed by the media.
- PR is way beyond media stories & is touching boundaries of advertising & marketing. More and more content creators are doing associations with PR firms & overall content marketing is being managed by them.
- Technology is rapidly changing, and PR will have to keep up or get left behind. Words like virtual reality and big data are no longer words of the future.
A handful of tips can be taken into consideration while pre-empting the future of PR:-
1. Audience Targeting
Not just knowing your target audience, but to understand what kind of things do they do, which devices do they typically own; all of these become important questions to answer and be prepared with. This is not only limited to media & publications, but a mix of man-managed and machine-managed media.
We have recently tested this for a wearable startup (Boltt) and were overwhelmed with the response.
We created a list of 4000+ international media after doing the research on keywords category like wearables, technology, AI. further, we created a pool of audience for pitches. Before doing media pitch on email, we beamed Boltt’s content & started monitoring responses from Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Email & community forums. This helped us in creating 5 list of media buckets on the basis of different responses.
As result of audience targeting way before recent press unveiling during CES 2017, CNN International did the live interview in prime time for 3 minutes for Boltt, which was broadcasted live in 45+ countries.
2. Building a Relationship Beyond Media for a Future-ready Approach
Long gone are the days when companies could tell consumers what they need. It is more about reaching out to them and maintaining a relationship with them. Relationships can be built by focusing on empathy and having one-on-one conversations with your customers.
In future efforts will be put more on amplification to reach out to a wide targeted audience rather than coverage only. The way we manage the ROI from public relations is already changed. Brands will use the third party as testimonial engine & invest huge promotions to reach a bigger audience. Few simple amplification tactics are:
- Influencers associations
- Content Marketing in shape of uniquely re-hashed content pegs for different platforms.
- Amplification of prominent PR stories using custom audience engines of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin& other targeted communities.
5: Data, ROI & AI-Driven Strategies: Everything will be easily measurable in future. Right from time spent on all the screens, to cookies captured and nurtured for remarking. We will be easily managing the sales from PR activations & PR agencies will have business/sales targets.
Public relation is an opportune mix of communication, timing, audience targeting, distribution channels (publications), amplification, seeding, and cross promotions. Overall, it is evident from the changing trends that PR is evolving. More responsibilities will certainly mean learning new technologies and be up to date on them, but what it will also mean is that you can consolidate your brand’s communication and speak in one voice - effectively.