With the new year looming around the corner, tis the season to start setting goals and resolutions—and that goes for your organization, too!
What once was as simple as getting your name in print has substantially evolved over the years. As with any field in this day and age, the expanding world of digital has made a strong impact on public relations.
With the ever-changing landscape of communication channels, there are new ways to reach your audience every day. So this year, you should add "improve PR strategy" to your wish list and consider all of the benefits that these fresh, new methods can bring when it comes to your PR efforts.
The Beauty of Real-Time
Before the convenience of instantaneously sharing content via social media, drafting and distributing news releases could take as long as a few weeks before the news got out. Today, as long as your release is ready to go, it can be live within minutes.
This real-time communication has also helped to streamline crisis management. Now, issues can be addressed quickly, directly and efficiently.
Reaching Far and Wide
With more and more people taking to social media to sound off on brands and research information, getting the attention of your target audience has never been easier—not to mention, the attention of others, as well.
Today, videos, photos, infographics and even the new fad that is "stories," are all new methods of raising brand awareness and conveying a company's message. Also, in this world of digital, there are now bloggers to contend with, which has created a whole new opportunity to get messages out there to a broader audience.
With these new digital tools at our disposal, we can now find out the exact number of people who have clicked on certain links, what they did with it, and even information about their demographics, age, location and more.
Now when you distribute press releases and share content, you can see results and get a much better idea of what's working, what isn't working, and how you can address it.
Although trying to stay on top of all of the change that comes with an evolving PR environment is a challenge, the amount of opportunity that has opened up for brands is tremendous. Today, businesses are in a better position than they've ever been when it comes to sharing messages and connecting with the public all because of this constantly changing PR world.
This past September, I began a new chapter in my career with McDougall Communications. One week earlier, my youngest daughter began her freshman year of high school, now mixed in with more than 1,900 other teenagers. We just held elections across the United States and with them came new legislators, new governors, new majorities and new (well, maybe not “new”) promises. Next year, my oldest daughter will join countless other high school graduates as she heads off to college to experience new and interesting things as she leaves the confines of home.
It’s no surprise that I’m often reminded of what the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, once said: “Change is the only constant in life.”
In a dynamic profession like public relations, we expect and embrace change—and so should your company, not-for-profit, school, association, or whatever your organization is. With change comes opportunity and with opportunity comes the ability to showcase what sets your organization apart and differentiates it from the masses in a cluttered environment.
Not all that long ago, it was common practice that the only way to get your word out was through earned media channels with a press release. However—you guessed it—things changed! Today, the public consumes their information in different ways as more and more entities maximize their exposure through owned media (websites and blogs), shared media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest) and paid media (branded content and paid integrations).
USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations' 2018 Global Communications report shows organizations will continue to shift their spending from earned media into owned, shared and paid over the next five years. This doesn’t mean that earned media isn’t valued but suggests the recognition for balance across each channel.
This shift in spending across media channels comes with it a change in content. While developments occurring within your organization are still newsworthy, audiences are demanding more. In addition to what’s happening, they want to know what you know and, yes, they want to know what you think. It’s that mix of information, opinion and news that keep brands relevant in an ever-changing life.
Organizations that prepare for change are better positioned to succeed in the tong-term. And if you aren’t prepared it’s not too late to start, because as that other great philosopher Bob Dylan once wrote: “the times they are a changin’.”
A large meeting room at the recent Public Relations Society of America International Conference in Austin, Texas was recently filled to near capacity, as communications professionals were drawn to an unusual topic.
In a time when crisis seems to be the order of the day in many organizations, with time and energy being placed against containing and controlling any number of wayward issues, I was standing before them to offer a counterpoint: crisis can be good.
Let me frame this, however. Unlike the plot of the not-so-classic Our Brand is Crisis dramedy staring Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton, I wasn’t advocating initiating a crisis for gain. Yet when problems are at the doorstep, we’re often too eager to chase them away without looking to how we can benefit in parallel. How? First, you need to understand what to look for. Second, you need the infrastructure and mindset in place to turn the concept into reality.
In advance of the discussion, PRSA Strategies & Tactics asked Aimee Lewis and me to author a piece on this way of thinking for its all-crisis issue. While it’s no substitute for having been in the room in Texas, the feature should prompt you to question if your latest challenge – or next one (because there will be a next one) – could create deeper employee belonging, correct process deficiencies or set up your company for a comeback.
Take a read, and let me know what you think.