The New Realities of PR

20 Apr The New Realities of PR

The rapid rate of change in the media industry has not only changed the way people consume information but it has also changed how we in the PR industry do our jobs.

This panel, led by Priya Ramesh, Director of social media at CRT/tanaka, features Lisa Throckmorton (EVP at SpeakerBox Communications), Evan Weisel (Pricnipal and Co-Founder of Welz & Weisel), Shana Glickfield (Partner at Beekeeper Group) and Jeffrey David (SVP at AARP).

Here’s what they had to say about embracing an integrated approach to PR.
What do you consider to be the new realities of PR?

  • As PR people we need to take a pragmatic approach. Services are becoming increasingly integrated and there is still a place for traditional, social, content and thought leadership just need to find the right place for it.
  • It’s all about content.
  • The concept of the social consumer is evolving. Consumers can organize immediately and make a difference in a company or take a stand against (or for) something quickly and easily over social channels. Communicators are responsible for that level of crisis management as well as increasing transparency for organizations.
  • Our job description has changed dramatically, we wrestle with the term PR because it encompasses so much more.
  • Five to ten years ago a PR person was sought after for their rolodex and now that is just a sliver of their job. It’s much more about content creation and curation.

AARP first embraced social media 3-4 years ago. The biggest challenge they saw was communicating to people inside the business about how it would help them. They had to make the business case. The main thing they say to keep in mind is that you have to see the long-term story, this will not show results over night. But if you take chances, think about brand awareness and jump in with a realistic expectation it can work, even for the AARP.

How is social media interaction different in B2B and B2G?

  • There is no silver bullet in this area, you have to really pay attention to where your audience is and speak directly to them. Doing this can require a combination of traditional and social methods to really tailor programs specifically for each company
  • Social outlets can be a way to showcase another side of the company, such as company culture rather than company news.
  • Also, social media can be a great internal tool to listen to and participate in conversations with reporters and customer prospects. Additionally, it’s terrific for data mining and customer service, engagement and cultivating feedback.

We are beyond the social media honeymoon phase – how do we address ROI and set tangible metrics? How do we ‘make it work’?

  • It’s hard to set numbers and metrics overall because it’s really dependant on each company.
  • Have to look hard at brand and reputation management on social media channels.
  • Examples of things that go viral are mostly humorous or put a human element to the company. Can’t just hit the viral button that lives under our desk. The challenge is getting clients to loosen up a little and have a some humor online.
  • Media coverage can go viral too. It’s seems opposite of what you’d expect to happen but can have terrific results.

Content in general is really about thought leadership. what resonantes is not products or services, but trends and issues. Traditional media is still relevant, print publications still drive traffic and sales. But the online and print version of publications together change the way people read.

What about the massive lost of trust in institutions?

  • Social media and citizen journalizm is making it difficult to see where the truth is and we shoudl be able to look to jounralists to be the filter.
  • Always try to put your best foot forward and look to be transparent when representing a company, especially over social media.
  • Social media is helping to take the jargon out of press releases and marketing materials. People are looking for companies to be real with them, not market to them, it ultimately makes the conversation more authentic.

Is the press release dead? How can we be creative about sending out content people want to read?

  • It’s still around but not always the best way to communicate.
  • Press releases can act as a validator but it’s only one way to communicate. Also, we can’t overlook the SEO value of a release that goes over the wire.
  • Keep them factual and short if they’re going to work.
  • Not an either-or (release or social). It’s an and. Need to have this element of traditional PR as well as newer strategies and social.
  • Reporters still look for email communication and see press releases as validators of the news.

Ultimately, take a look at your goals and create a strategy that is composed of the traditional and new tactics that will get you there.

Ali Robinson
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