How PR is just as essential in the digital world
PR, traditionally, is all about building relationships with journalists on behalf of a business. Whether one works agency (such as myself) or client-side, having a little black book stuffed with key journalist contacts who will read a press release and respond to a pitch is key. There are still heaps of wonderful print publications out there, but the rise and rise of digital means that their sales are being squeezed. As we near the final quarter of 2018, there are now 5 PR professionals for every journalist out there, and the number of journalists seems to fall a little every year. Editorial staff are under pressure to deliver the same amount of insightful content with fewer people to research and write it and spin that content with compelling titles to generate the best possible click-through rates.
Print publications are still much-loved for their feeling of authenticity and the beauty of designed pages, they build trust and their reach lasts a lot longer than a social media. Who else picks up old magazines at friends or parents houses for a flick through? I always notice products that sneak onto my shopping list and have a browse through the editorial features! I will always advocate a print media campaign for suitable brands, but it doesn’t take an in-depth analysis or a master’s degree in communications to see that PRs need to be adaptable to change and prepare for the future. Old-school PRs, used to maintaining and network of contacts writing about their specialist area and placing products and stories where they will generate the greatest reach, are sometimes unwilling to embrace digital opportunities and still see PR as a separate silo of business to digital marketing.
My belief as we go forward into an increasingly digital future is that the focus should be on the ‘R’ of PR, and relationships will be key. Firstly, it’s more important than ever for PRs to build relationships with journalists based on trust and relevance, so that when they pitch they cut through the bombardment journalists face from other PRs. Secondly, PRs have the opportunity to realign themselves so that they work with brands on more than just media relations, helping them to shape their relationships with prospects and customers across multiple channels, not just via journalists.
Successful PRs are skilled in writing clear, persuasive content and seeing the stories behind products and services, relating them to key features and benefits and then delivering those messages to an intended audience. These skills, combined with the ability to get under the skin of a business to tease out their ethos and what makes them special, translate neatly into being a whizz at content creation for all manner of digital and traditional marketing channels. This approach will reap benefits as marketing automation (you can now build websites which cleverly track return visitors and serve them different content depending on where they are in the ‘buyer journey’) artificial intelligence and other clever digital marketing tools give businesses the ability to deliver personalised messages directly to individual consumers.
While for both myself and my clients there’s often nothing better than getting heaps of print coverage every month, don’t forget that there are other channels where your future customers lurk, and Tara Punter PR offers heaps of services that will help you reach them to see your businesses grow and grow. Whether you’re on the hunt for print coverage, brand awareness, product launch advice or social media and content marketing, there will be a package or service to suit. All you need to do is drop us a line and we can take it from there!