Modern public relations has evolved from what traditional public relations used to be. From the ages of banners, television, and clever marketing adverts, to today, a lot has happened. That evolution might be missed by most companies if they are not careful. Some PR agencies have also not quite caught up with the trends today. PR teams in startups are struggling to get a hold of publicity for their companies. It is a never-ending struggle for most companies due to lack of understanding what entails public relations in 2017, and onwards.
We have continued to get queries at Pressfarm about PR and what the strategy should be founded on in the modern world. Thankfully, due to our resourcefulness and the tremendous availability of the internet and information, we have put together a list of the emerging trends defining public relations that are as follows:
From big data to small data, modern public relations has become ever dependent on data. Public relations is all about stories. To tell compelling narratives to the target market, important data has to be collected and scrutinised. This is mainly because of the internet age that has ensured there is so much information available at the click of a button, so many businesses starting as quick as it takes to create a logo and website, and therefore so many companies pushing for their own stories.
For startups, it has become more important to use data to define PR strategy. The startups’ PR teams have to understand the importance of every piece of data they collect, and how they can use this data to create compelling tales that interest their readership, journalists, and market.
b). Pitching 2.0
Previously, mass emailing worked so effectively because journalists, writers, and bloggers all received very few emails and pitches. That is not the same anymore.
Today, pitching is only effective if you take your time to study everyone in your press list, their readership, and niches. You cannot get away with mass emailing among other pitching mistakes anymore because journalists and bloggers now receive a ton of pitches per day. They can also easily tell when the email was sent to a gazillion other journalists.
In modern public relations, pitching has to be done keenly and backed by research. The startups that are focusing on pitching based on collected data get media coverage easily than those who are sending emails trying to pitch their new launch or product feature.
A decade or two ago, very few people really cared about numbers when it came to marketing. All it took to get the attention of the market is an amazing and beautiful advertising banner placed across the street, on exterior walls of a building or on TV.
Today, no matter how amazing your advert is, at some point in your funnel the prospective client will ask for the numbers backing up your nice ad. It’s harder for clients to trust nice YouTube videos, or television ads or beautiful banners along the streets — thanks to the availability of too much information making it harder to discern between the wrong and right information.
Companies that want to succeed in modern public relations must embrace numbers and analytics. Tech companies — including those that market themselves based on social impact, must do their research, collect their data from both prospective and existing clients, then put some mathematical sense on that data. Put this into perspective in form of website traffic, number of leads, etc, and you will easily get press coverage.
Modern public relations can no longer be controlled or defined only by media. The game is changing. The whole world is now a global village courtesy of the internet and improved technology. Previously, the press defined and governed brand awareness. However, in the current world, that neighbour of yours who has 100k followers on Instagram can give life-changing impact to your brand.
The world today consists of people who are trusted and highly followed by people. Bloggers too have become extremely influential and those who are credible can be the go to person when you need to send the word out about your company.
e). Publicity is not the end game
Even as companies seek publicity, more than ever before, publicity won’t guarantee customers happiness in 6 or 7 months down the line. Companies must understand that in modern public relations, publicity won’t take you too far if it is the end game.
What should be the end game? — You ask.
The end game today is customer satisfaction. Publicity is just the beginning. If customers are not happy with your product after a few days or weeks, they will move on unsatisfied and with bad testimonials for anyone who asks about your company.
Companies must therefore ensure that the product or service works fully: not up-to some point. Startups looking for press coverage after developing the minimum viable product (MVP) should ensure that the core part of that MVP executes the idea and solves the problem it set out to solve first. In summary, publicity is only beneficial when customer satisfaction can be guaranteed. This will reduce churn, and ensure that word of mouth from existing customers continues to bring in additional customers very many years along the line.
Reading has always been important for PR and it remains the same. However, it’s more important today because the culture of reading has tremendously reduced and what people do nowadays is skim and digest the titles. For PR teams, this can be the biggest undoing — very detrimental.
The only way to grasp modern public relations is to read and read and read again. Setting aside time to read on a daily basis is advised. To understand your niche, and what journalists in your niche like to write about is only achieved through reading. Sometimes, solid arguments from articles written by said journalists can be the gateway to a long-lasting relationship between you and a publication.
It is important to understand the market, the readers, the writers, bloggers and journalists before reaching out to ask for press coverage. PR teams in startups that emphasise the importance of reading are miles ahead in the search of publicity for their companies.
g). Content strategy
It is nearly impossible to succeed in the current world without having content strategy. A definite and elaborate content creation and marketing plan sets you apart from the companies that are just focused on their products.
Long gone is the belief that publicity only comes from media. As we have seen earlier, influencers and bloggers have become integral to brand awareness. More fundamental, however, is social media. Just about a decade ago, it was an immense struggle to get noticed by your market if the media didn’t cover your company. Enter Facebook and the game changed. The social network now has more than 1.5 billion users worldwide. Then followed Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Plus — with more than a billion users interacting in these 4 social media networks every month.
The only way to be noticed on this social networks is to prioritise content creation and marketing. That, my friends is the modern public relations. The success of this strategy is highly dependent on hiring a creative PR team or chief in your startup. When you succeed in getting your company noticed on social media, even the media notices. Your content can include articles, videos, infographics, graphics, and audio, among other choices.
Social media is amazing because it creates a joyous loop: customer comes to your website/company page → finds interesting content → shares it → checks out what you offer → probably buys it and leaves → another customer finds your content shared on social media → clicks it and goes to your website/company page to read it → shares itn, and the loop continues.
As you can see, PR has come a long way. The good news is that the evolution has happened for the better, and made things a little easier — albeit in a noisier world than what the 90s must have been. Startups and other companies looking for PR must shift their focus to what has become the modern public relations. It encompasses all these — and probably more, but I can bet that companies that grasp these 7 trends will come out on top.
Originally published at press.farm on August 28, 2017.