Blog Post
14.01.2016
WHAT’S THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS?

Earning attention? Influencing audience behaviour? Telling brand stories? Engaging audiences in social channels?    Deana Tynan uncovers the future of PR and some of the challenges faced by PR professionals today.

Twenty years ago, landing a spot in ‘traditional’ media outlets, such as an article in a newspaper publication or a spot on television talk show was enough to guarantee that your story would be heard.

But, fast forward to 2016, an era of click bait, short attention spans and endless social media channels, and you have an entirely different scenario at play.

As media consumption continues to shift into the digital realm, PR professionals have also had to shift the way they present content.

Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media channels have transformed the relationship between the members of the public and those communicating with them.

It’s no longer as simple as traditional media. Today, the landscape may be built upon traditional media, but it encompasses digital PR strategies with a dash of social engagement (social media, blogging, etc.), brand journalism, thought leadership, SEO strategies, and content strategies, to name a few.

PR, as we know it, was always and will always be about ‘content development’ and ‘content management’. The only difference is that today’s multi-channel landscape provides new innovative technologies to create better content and disseminate this content to a wider audience.

New terms, described below, have appeared in the industry, and terms like ‘content marketing’ and ‘earned media’ are often used instead of the term ‘public relations’.

Here’s what they really mean:

STORYTELLING OR BRAND JOURNALISM

Brand journalism is telling a story related to your brand’s expertise. This method is used by many forward thinking companies and is extremely valuable, as the audience is engaged and, therefore, interested to learn more about the brand.

VISUAL MEDIA AND MARKETING

PR campaigns are no longer simply judged by the sheer number of impressions, so multimedia utilisation is vital. Visual media such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are considerably more relevant when defining success because PR professionals must position their clients to be buzz-worthy or trending. Furthermore, every PR campaign must be supported by an appropriate sales and marketing strategy in order to be effective.

NICHE-INFLUENCERS

No longer is just one technology or one business writer or editor for an outlet. Each category has been broken out into multiple subcategories—for example under business there are subdivisions for entrepreneurism, small business, international business, etc.—and it is imperative PR professionals reach out to these highly targeted niche influencers to effectively grow brand recognition.

The scope of opportunities is increasing and PR professionals need to continue to adopt forward thinking and accept the innovators.

Agencies still control the facts, but they must collaborate with the like of influencers and bloggers, so they don’t face backlash.

At its core PR is still about great storytelling, but the future of PR is about creating a shareable experience. Measuring only media coverage is a way of the past. PR professionals must now target to engage their clients’ audience and have them be a part of the news cycle.