If you were to google ‘Public Relations’ it would appear as “The practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organisation (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organisation) and the public.” Since studying PR I have come to realise that PR is so much more diverse, having to adapt in different ways due to the changing digital media landscape.
The world has become Digital. This is a fact. PR has had to change in a grand scale and consequently PR Professionals both In-house and Agencies have had to adapt in order to stay cohesive with a digital orientated approach. The internet in PR is key, but is new to many, and fewer businesses to date manage to really assert themselves amongst the online population.
There are online audiences that are waiting to become active with different brands. Niche thought is needed from individuals and clever PR can enhance relationships between clients to make it clearer.
Digital PR nowadays is far more than just an ‘add on’ as it is now fully immersed into what Public Relations represents. Traditional PR is arguably a thing of the past. With 61% of adults owning a smartphone and 1 billion people worldwide on Facebook, accessibility to products and brands is easier than ever. Digital PR is the main form of interaction with consumers.
Adapting to the fast-changing digital PR environment can be challenging. Photo credit: Opensource.com
Technologically PR has changed, online publishers and bloggers added to the rapid growth of social media networks has brought a different set of challenges and opportunities to the table.
Arguably it has been made far easier- according to Julia Sahin as; the message can be spread further and easier but with less money spent on promotional activity. However on the other hand it comes with more work. Moreover the growth of information sources and social media platforms causes consumers to segment themselves into groups based on opinions or interests.
New ways of communicating bring both challenges and opportunities to public relations. Photo credit: Kristen Swanson. http://www.cyberalert.com/blog/index.php/how-the-new-media-landscape-poses-challenges-opportunities-to-public-relations/
Accountability in PR has now taken a stronger responsibility and actions across the profession now require more thought, strategy and the content to be of higher quality. The use of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is now a huge necessity among modern PR and is a skillful area of online strategy.
SEO and PR once existed differently and offered different individual features. Now in 2016 SEO and PR are working closely together with the new digital landscape. Consequently Google are now placing more importance on the quality of site’s content relavence and whether there are any premium websites that are linked to your site.
SEO essentially is improved if you write and share insightful and appealing content and get links from good sites. Today PR and SEO executives work together more closely with one another on projects. The goals shared between the two areas are similar and developing stronger digital PR plans assist in creating good visibility of a website. Therefore, it is in the PR departments best interest that the SEO rating given by Google is strong so consumers can access the websites quicker.
Media relations can be described as a company’s interactions with editors, reporters and journalists. The media can be Newspapers, Radio, Television and the Internet. It has had a huge reform now there is significant evidence of a digital landscape. The Press Release has fallen out of favour in order to contact Journalists, although according to Stephen Waddington we cannot support the claim “The Press Release is finished” but rather instead understand that the form of organisational communication has instead transcended. Press Releases are still largely used, however the ones that are tend to be altered in a way which can best suit the digital landscape that PR is currently active in. Consequently there is a decline of merely just print but rather being made interactive with the use of Pictures, Multimedia, Podcasts etc.
Moreover there is now much more use digital media rather than traditional as it has shifted with the landscape over time. This is the process of now using social media and media press newsrooms. However Traditional PR involving the use of Press Releases, Press conferences and the organising of events is still very relavent in modern times. Some Journalists prefer to be contacted by way of Press Release and therefore the skill of this shall always be a valuable skill.
However the crux of this article is that PR is fast paced and forever changing, and with the world we operate in now it is essential for PR professionals to be fluent in both traditional and new forms of media in the transcendent digital media climate that is present in society.The world has been caught up in a digital media storm and PR has evolved with it at a rapid rate, the change from 15 years ago is staggering. Public Relations is forever changing and it is important as PR professionals that we monitor it and act effectively in different situations in order to reap the best results.