According to a survey by journalist and PR platform Muck Ruck, 73% of PR professionals say the term “public relations” will no longer describe the work they do in five years. As the world quickly goes digital, it’s no surprise that many aspects of public relations have been affected and changed by technology. Technology PR agencies of today may still cover crisis management, reputation management, and brand awareness. However, current PR strategies have moved beyond the tried-and-tested approach of traditional PR.
This article will go over some of the different technologies that altered the way public relations is done today.
The Influence of Social Media
Decades ago, news was released only at specific times, through daily newspapers and primetime news broadcasts over the radio or television. If you want to know about an event that day, you need to wait for the primetime news or the next day’s paper.
With the emergence of the internet and social media, news is available any time of the day and reaches its audience almost instantly. Social media gave consumers a way to engage and communicate with brands, paving the way for a more personal communication between consumers and companies.
Due to these changes, PR departments now have to act quickly and strategically to respond to recent events or phenomena. Sending out a press release or managing a crisis now has a social media component, which means it must be fast and far-reaching and should stand out from online noise.
Despite this challenge, social media invites PR teams and brands to be more creative in cultivating trust and goodwill in their audience. One of the best examples of this is a small 2014 PR project in Massachusetts (which the entire world knows by now): The Ice Bucket Challenge.
The goal was to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The ALS ice bucket challenge became a viral sensation after celebrities joined. The PR stunt had mentions reaching 1.3 million in just 24 hours and raised $100 million for the ALS association.
Self-Publication Platforms and Video Content
Technology has enabled us to write, capture, or produce content and share them online for everyone to see through self-publication platforms. Now, people can share a detailed blog post on their experience with brands and publish it online through blogging platforms like Tumblr or YouTube.
The rise of digital influencers can be as problematic as they are helpful. These influencers have enabled brands to reach larger audiences, build awareness, and promote positive branding with the right PR strategy.
Video has also become an important part of modern PR strategies. Videos not only help capture people’s attention or initiate online engagements but also control PR messaging. It allows brands to explain complicated topics more easily and in an entertaining manner.
When Adobe decided to enter the marketing software space, they did so with the help of their “Marketing is Bullsh*t.” It was a series of entertaining videos that tackled popular marketing myths and introduced viewers to metrics-driven marketing.
The PR campaign was described as raw, in-your-face, and very successful. Throughout the campaign, it generated 96 million views, a 45% increase in direct sales inquiries, and generated a lot of press.
The Importance of Big Data
Big data is about analyzing and systematically extracting information from large amounts of data sets that are otherwise too complex for traditional data-processing applications.
It has become an important modern technological trend that powers artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). For the field of public relations, big data means having the ability to monitor and measure large amounts of content needed to improve communications.
The following are examples of how PR teams can utilize big data:
- Sentiment Analysis : Big data enables PR teams to gather information about client sentiments from niche communities. It allows for a tailor-made campaign strategy that perfectly fits the targeted community.
- Crisis Management : Through big data, agencies can gather information from a wide range of sources and catch bad publicity that could potentially spiral out of control. The real-time data collected lets PR agencies respond quickly to any press material.
- Trend History Analysis : PR agencies can use big data to analyze trends, determine what caused them, and predict if they can reoccur. This enables agencies to assess trending topics, hashtags, and negative reactions within a particular industry.
In an ever-changing and connected world, public relations remains an integral part of brands, companies, and industries. PR will have to continue to embrace technology to communicate better with audiences and, most importantly, to understand them.
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