3 New Concepts for Public Relations in the Digital EraCarmen Driscu
The World is changing. We hear this all the time. But the World has been in constant change, so why do we hear this more and more now? The answer is that we, the people living today, are the lucky ones to live through a period of many and rapid changes, not seen since the Industrial Revolution era. And the reason for this is, again, technology, and more specifically the Internet.
Increasingly, we live our lives online: we work and do business online, we connect with friends on line, we order our food and clothes online, we network and even date online. Of course, this has changed everything, especially for Public Relations specialists, whose job is to build mutual beneficial relationships between a business and its stakeholders. And as said stakeholders are now more likely to be found online than not, PR cannot ignore the increasingly powerful channels the Internet has brought to their door.
The problem is, of course, what is there to be done, exactly, as the sheer size of phenomenon and the multitude of new possibilities can be a bit, or more, daunting. But to start with, there are three concepts a PR professional for the digital age must be familiar with.
- Social Media PR is still PR, but not PR as we know it, or PR as it used to be. PR is all about building relationship, but once upon a time this used to be a (mostly) one way street, with a message being sent, but not necessarily also being received. The Social Media Networks, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn definitely allow for a message to be sent to potentially millions, or even billions, of people but those people now have a voice and they speak back. So Social Media PR is all about targeting and engaging the right people. Knowing your public has never been more important, but it has never been easier to find it either. As it is talking to them, not at them.
- Blogging and online media relations have changed the game in how articles are written and promoted. Of course, press releases and articles for traditional media are still important, but now the PR specialist can control the content, the platform and the way to reach and attract the targeted audience.
- Online Reputation Management is becoming increasingly important. Of course, reputation building, crisis communication and damage control have always been very important PR functions. And now, when the Internet has provided customers with many, many channels for their voice, its online reputation is vital for any business. After all, most of us, when looking for new products or services or hear of a new company, search online to see what we can find. And if we don’t like what we find, we move on, as simple as that.
These are only a few points about how the Internet has brought with it new ways to enhance Public Relations. From all three it is obvious that the most important change is that now the relationship between a business and its customers, or potential customer, has really become a relationship, with the flow of information going both ways.
And the winners in this new environment will be the businesses who will know how to manage this effectively, to get their message to the people who want and need to hear it and listen to them in return. And to keep the discussion going, what other concepts do you think are important for PR in the digital age?