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Public relations in the digital age

Know your audience. It’s the golden rule for public relations success and as the media landscape continues to evolve, it’s become more important than ever.

Insights from Deloitte’s Media Consumer Survey for 2014 show that digital is now the preferred method of news consumption for many Australians, with 35 per cent choosing to seek out a printed newspaper on weekends only and 54 per cent checking or updating their social network daily. So what does that mean for public relations?

Consumers now have a wide range of options when it comes to finding information online and in a shift from traditional media, they aren’t all necessarily “news” outlets. The digital world opens the door to communicate with your target publics in a range of new areas, from bloggers and influencers to social media and content marketing. A well-rounded PR strategy will identify the best non-news resources for target audiences and find the most effective way to tap into them. The key is to be adaptable and perform regular evaluations to ensure you are looking for and securing coverage in the appropriate outlets for your market.

Get Social

While traditional PR relies solely on mass media to convey messages, the explosion of social media has completely redefined the way organisations converse with their target publics. For the first time you are able to do so directly, without the help of a media platform, which enables two-way communication in real time that is not only cost effective but a great way to increase brand awareness and create meaningful customer engagement too.

Utilise Your Online Community

The usual media suspects are no longer the only resource to communicate with your target publics with bloggers, social media personalities and even user generated content offering more influence than that of traditional media outlets in some cases. Aligning your brand with the right influencers adds personality and can aid in making your organisiation more relatable to your target publics.

Content is Key

Online, organisations have the power to create their own media channels, which allows PR collateral such as the humble press release to be repurposed into a number of valuable tools to tell your story. Blog posts on your website (or as a featured guest post on a relevant site), direct marketing emails, social media posts and infographics are all great ways to create branded, interesting and sharable content for your audience.

While traditional PR tends to be stand alone and focused purely on media relations, digital PR is a much more collaborative affair and will have maximum impact when created alongside, and integrated with, sound digital marketing and social media strategies. Essentially the end game of both traditional and digital PR is the same, but the key is knowing their strengths and how you can best ultilise each to cast a wide net and not only gain media coverage for your brand but to tell its story in a meaningful and approachable way.

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