We live in an ever-changing world. That has never been as true as it is today. Technological advances, big data, and the rapid turn-around of information means PR too has gone through huge changes in the past 10 years. Some thoughts about the rapid changes in PR and how PR firms and agencies are adjusting follow.
Data. It’s not that data has not always been a factor. Reports, analysis, surveys, and polls have been used for years to gather information pertinent to what a client is offering. But we live in the age of big data, small data, and instant updates. What’s more, the current generations of young adults have always known about the Internet.
Most of them may have been cutting their teeth on computer keyboards, so they are tech and data-aware at an intense level. PR firms are now helping their clients gather the right data and how to use it in ways to rocket their efforts forward. If a PR firm is mastering this trait currently, they are probably building their own sphere of influence almost exponentially.
Pitching to media sources. Everybody has an email these days. Almost everyone carries a phone with internet access, so they don’t even need a computer to be online. That translates to anyone can pitch their product to bloggers, journalists, and other media outlets.
Because this is true, PR firms have had to learn new techniques and approaches to receive a response from their usual sources. Sending out mass emails isn’t really effective anymore, especially to reporters and writers who often have a rather jaded outlook.
The focus has shifted to storytelling, and it needs to be done well.
Focused campaigns. It’s not just about advertising now. PR firms need to know the client’s objective. Are they looking for leads, more traffic, or engagement on their website? That allows the firm to focus on those goals and be able to use big data and metrics to determine almost immediately what is working.
Integration. It’s not just about publicity. Many of the firms are expanding their scope to include work with paid outlets like Facebook ads or print ads. They also get free publicity – the true PR work used to be focused largely on writing press releases, arranging for press coverage at events sponsored by a client, that type of thing. In addition to these two areas, there is also getting people to share what has been accomplished in paid and free outlets, as well as content on sites owned by the client.
All areas have to be addressed in clever ways to catch the attention of people rapidly scrolling through their accounts.
Much of your work will still be served by telling a great story in a way that connects with customers and clients. That has not changed and is unlikely to change since most of us connect best with a personal touch.