There’s no doubt that Public Relations is an art. PR is a unique combination of communications mastery, sincere relationship building, and Jeopardy-level knowledge of current events. For good measure, toss in some tenacity and a sixth sense for what people will find compelling, and how. In PR, we build brands that set trends by capitalizing on the current.
But while PR has always required that we keep our fingers on the pulse of current global culture, what we consider “the media” is now more far-reaching, ubiquitous, and noisy than ever.
So how do we keep up? How do we separate the substance from the fluff, and make sure our own (quality) content stands out? We could easily drive ourselves into the ground trying to shoehorn our original methods into digital-age style, or we can evolve with the industry.
In short, to be successful in PR V.2017, we have to work smart, not just hard. And I do mean that literally—get your smart phone, we’re going mobile.
Okay, not just mobile, but that is a big part of it. These days, we have to optimize our journalism-based storytelling within traditional media outlets for the platforms and apps that drive contemporary consumer connection.
I’m not suggesting we toss our standards to the wind in favor of churning out daily content for ten different platforms in an effort to simply invite the masses to mindlessly “like” us. Quite the contrary, we have to raise our standards for content creation in order to stand out in a sea of contributors, and then we have to employ those same standards in carefully trimming and adapting that content for multiple short-form and visual platforms in a way that not only grabs attention, but keeps it.
When we do all of that successfully, we effectively convert momentary fans into long-term followers who will continue to engage with us through whichever platforms they prefer.
Social media—an incredibly broad term for the multitude of user-based sharing platforms that connect and inundate billions of brains a day—is here to stay. Maybe not in its current forms, for certainly not all of today’s popular platforms will weather the millennial storm, but it is undeniable that social technology has woven itself inextricably into daily human livelihood.
Increasingly, our conversations with clients include strategic approaches to pairing social and traditional media (sometimes even viral marketing), because it’s both what clients are already seeing daily and what we suggest they use to maximize their presence. We also have a much more involved relationship with web developers and analytics experts because we’re constantly monitoring the ways that people ingest interviews and news, and making sure content is accessible to the largest number of people.
What this means: If you are a PR professional, read up on social platforms, mobile news apps, and the digital workspace tools that can help you streamline efficiency and engage with your audiences. If you’re a writer looking to self-promote or hire a PR firm, make sure that you and/or your reps understand thoroughly the critical combination of legitimate news coverage and clever, multi-platform content distribution—that’s definitely a conversation to have early on.
O brave new world!
Top image courtesy of Espresso Digital