How Technology Is Changing the European PR Landscape
Public relations has existed long before we knew the sound of 1990s modem. Let's explore how current technology is revolutionizing the European PR landscape.
Public relations may remain a happy hunting ground for the kings of spin, but technology and an increasingly interconnected world is challenging businesses to build exposure through more transparent and efficient means. Despite a steady increase in spending on PR in Europe, the increase is nowhere near the level of spending on digital marketing in general.
Where the PR of yesteryear was highly dependent on journalism and print-based media, digital platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have brought advertising and marketing online, and emerging practices such as influencer collaborations have changed the way we view "the dark arts."
According to IAB Europe, European companies have spent around €48 billion on digital ads in 2017. The figure has likely increased since.
Among there European countries, the biggest spender appears to be ...
However, the internet age and emerging technologies have certainly made their mark on PR, and the landscape continues to change through the development of AI and automation. Here's a look at the emerging trends and shifting sands of public relations in Europe today.
Back in the times before anybody with a router was capable of reaching an audience of almost 3 billion people (with around 200 million users in western Europe), businesses had to establish and exploit their connections within journalism to build brand exposure through the use of press releases and carefully constructed print campaigns.
Today, a PR campaign can be executed in its entirety online, with embedded images, videos, links and content all free of charge. Brands can now build bridges without negotiating with their journalistic gatekeepers, and it's opened the door to widespread publishing opportunities. Red Bull's usage of modern media, for example, has led the company to become as much of a media company as it is an energy drinks supplier.
The introduction of intuitive automation tools to social media has proved to be something of a game changer, enabling companies to schedule, plan and publish posts in advance as a means of appealing directly to the largest possible target audience.
Automation services such as Buffer and Hootsuite can help you manage all of your social accounts in one place, as well as schedule posts weeks in advance. Users can even check how their posts are performing and make strategic tweaks in their content in a bid to gain more traction.
Given that the Gartner definition of "big data" dates back to 2001, the level of analytics that's become part and parcel of PR campaign monitoring must surely have outgrown the term.
Babel PR believes that the PR and communications professionals of 2019 have to double up as data scientists to optimize the level of information available to them about their target market lives, works and consumes content.
This huge level of data can help industry professionals to truly get into the minds of their audience and appeal to them on a level that's never before been seen -- but the very best PR practitioners will learn to combine raw data with creativity. While possessing a wealth of information can tell public relations agencies exactly who to aim for, analytics doesn't have to power to replace creative campaigns.
The rise of content
Content marketing is now front and center of any savvy brands communication and marketing, according to renowned marketing influencer, Jeff Bullas.
In a world that's increasingly reliant on convenience and digestible information online, digital content can make for an effective platform for any PR campaign while doubling up as an evergreen draw for audiences long after your marketing strategies have run their respective courses.
Bullas goes on to explain that content marketing is the 21st Century's latest iteration of spin, and the use of dedicated blogs can be essential for businesses in providing a voice that forms a bridge between the company and its customers -- free from any meddling or editing from external sources.
In the U.K. alone, around 78 percent of marketers confirmed the use of content marketing strategies.
Speaking on how best to approach a fresh content strategy, Mariya Lapuk, co-founder of Vinci Agency. told Hackernoon: "We have the 30 to 70 formula. This means that in promoting a business or startup, 30 percent of the news is made about the relevant industry, and 70 percent of the messages should create the expectation that this is a cool project."
We can expect long-form content marketing to continue to gain popularity moving into the next decade, with PR experts consistently adapting their approaches in order to gain prominence and exposure.
Influencer marketing tools
Fundamentally, the public relations industry is one that's ready to embrace AI and work alongside automated services.
Many agencies have already delved into excellent platforms for arranging influencer campaigns. With thousands of high-quality bloggers, vloggers and online personalities in just about any major industry you can think of, you're only ever a couple of clicks away from appealing straight to your target audience through the help of an influencer.Since PR's current vogue can be found in influencer marketing, it's fair to say that 2019 will be dominated by automation tools that can help to optimize the recruitment process of relevant influencers and strategize PR campaigns with them. Brandwatch is one such tool that makes the process of analyzing and identifying fitting influencers child's play -- leaving you to sit back and tap into the bigger data available to keep track of your success.