There is no denying that the world of PR has changed. Arguments about the death of the press release are rife and media relations are increasingly pressured to generate online content on third party websites (good for improving search engine rankings).
However, the core PR skill is still storytelling; creating compelling content for relevant audiences. The process for sharing those stories, and evaluating which are successful, has definitely become more sophisticated in this digital age.
As with most industries, the rapid adoption of the internet has dramatically changed the landscape of PR forever. This is especially true in the past few years. Mobile internet access is soaring; newspaper circulation is at an all-time low and even TV viewing is diminishing in favour of binge-watching Netflix.
With businesses making it a priority to boost their online profiles and convey their message via digital channels, PR agencies have had to adapt and offer a range of new services such as technical SEO, content creation, video design, social media management and more. With the nature of PR changed, this begs the question—is traditional PR still relevant?
New tools for a digital era
Since the beginning of mass media, an expertly crafted and well-circulated press release has been the primary tool for generating positive PR. In fact, here at MediaHQ, we see thousands of perfectly told stories —however, this is now changing. While press releases are still useful, businesses are acknowledging that not everyone processes information in the same way. This is why a corporate blog, infographics, whiteboard animation videos, Slideshare presentations and other forms of content can all be complementary to press releases as a way to generate positive PR.
Visual content has become highly popular in recent years, particularly since the advent of easy internet access. With the average human attention span getting shorter and shorter, visual content is an excellent way to cut through the noise and get your story heard. However, effective visual content still relies on traditional PR skills such as storytelling. While the tools may have changed in the digital era, the traditional skills are still relevant.
Another key feature of digital PR is that the results are vastly more quantifiable than traditional means. With television and print media, you can make reasonable estimations for how effective a campaign was, but with digital PR, there are precise metrics at your disposal. With click-through rates, conversions, bounce rates and social media audience/outreach statistics, you can not only determine the effectiveness of your PR but more importantly, you can get vital insights into what can be improved for future endeavours.
The future of traditional PR
In the face of changing technologies, it’s only natural that good PR agencies have evolved so that they can still continue to provide value for their clients. While the advantages might make digital PR seem more appealing, it would be a leap to assume that traditional PR is now redundant.
Even strictly digital businesses can benefit from building an offline presence within their communities. Particularly for industries which have niche media outlets, traditional campaigns can still be extremely useful for communicating with highly-targeted demographics.
Additionally, people tend to be more trusting of highly reputable, longstanding media outlets than of lesser-known digital outlets such as non-media related blogs. Whether or not your news sources are The Guardian or The Irish Times, you will always expect sources to be verified and the writing to be of a high standard when reading an article in such publications. Thus, traditional media will continue to be effective for PR, but as a complementary strategy along with digital endeavours such as content marketing.
Are you using all the tools available to keep your PR relevant? Find out how MediaHQ can help you by calling Gaye on (01) 254 1845 or by clicking here.