The internet is changing the public relations industry as we know it. While PR is more important now than ever, gone are the days of relying only on the media to tell your story. Let’s discuss what PR is and take a look at new and growing avenues PR professionals can explore to expand their reach and communicate a client’s message.
As a PR professional, one of the most dreaded questions I’m asked is, “So what exactly do you do?” For the longest time, I wasn’t sure how to answer them until it finally clicked – we’re storytellers. PR is another way to communicate a message with a target audience, which can be done several ways. Whether it’s blog posts, submitted columns, social media content, you name it – it’s our job to take your message and communicate it in the clearest way possible.
Under the umbrella of storytelling is social media, which is one of the biggest factors of change in public relations. Social media puts brands at consumer fingertips, eliminates the middleman and allows them to directly communicate with their favorite companies and organizations. While social media can make our job harder, it also creates a line of contact with our target audience.
Using social media correctly is key to retaining and gaining new customers and supporters. For example, you can create brand loyalty by responding to comments and messages or sharing and reposting tagged photos. Additionally, you can use social media in the same way mentioned above – instead of hunting for a reporter’s email address by Google search, send them a quick message via Twitter! In some cases, you have a better chance of reply with this approach than the traditional way of email or phone call.
Another storytelling vehicle is podcasts. Born out of social media, podcast popularity continues to grow annually. According to Statista, 57% of U.S. consumers listened to podcasts in 2021, which is up from 52% the previous year. Podcasts typically cover one topic, so they’re a great resource if you’re looking to get in front of a specific or niche audience.
Outside of our role as communicators on behalf of our clients, we also work to establish meaningful relationships with reporters, designers and other professionals in similar industries. By cultivating these relationships, we’re often top of mind if a reporter needs a source for a story or if a website designer has a client that needs assistance building their brand. Creating mutually beneficial relationships is a great way to gain coverage for what could be known as a difficult-to-land publication, show or broadcast.
PR pros – what are other growing ways of communication you use daily? How do you see these new channels shifting our roles in public relations? Sound off in the comments!