The nature of public relations has changed dramatically in recent years. The advent and subsequent omnipresence of social media along with the ever changing virtual world of digital media are making the reality more complex than it has to be.
According to Akshat Thapa, Founder of Newswire NEXT: “The public relations industry itself has undergone tectonic shifts in the last three to five years. Costs of PR campaigns have soared. Tangible and intangible returns on investment are becoming increasingly difficult to explain. These developments come at a time when the differences among marketing, advertising, promotion, branding and public relations have got significantly blurred and even some experts in public relations struggle to define if their campaigns are indeed aimed at branding or just outright sales, promotions or a sustained marketing effort.”
The industry is now faced with a seemingly existential crisis as the proving the value of public relations today has managed to emerge as an insurmountable challenge. The challenge can be dealt with if public relations agencies, the experts and the professionals take a holistic view and address the concerns of the industry, the customers or companies as well as individuals and the audience.
Establish and Sustain Trust
Public relations agencies must establish and sustain trust, not just for and with their customers but also for and with the target audience in every campaign. Customers or clients want to know that their investment is not futile and that there will be some tangible rewards. The tangible outcomes could be entirely financial or measurable developments, such as an increase in social media following or the brand featuring in relevant magazines, digital or traditional publications and other forms of mass media. The trust of the audience should also be gained and sustained. This is necessary for the customer or client and for the public relations agency. No promotion, branding, marketing or advertising initiative can have the desired impact unless there is trust.
Conceive Effective Strategies
It is no secret that journalists, editors and publications use only one in ten press releases they receive. In many cases, the ration is much more alarming. Traditional media is still relevant but conventional strategies have not been yielding the kind of results they had once upon a time. Engaging with people directly, conceiving strategies apt for the digital world, real time correspondence and amendments to existing campaigns, using state of the art tools for the purpose of crafting the message and communicating in a way that is appealing to the target audience are the quintessential requirements today. Public relation is now proactive and reactive at the same time. It is as much about persuasion as it is about reputation management.