Charles Darwin once said that, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
The field of public relations is currently enduring a seismic shift that is putting Darwin’s theory to the test. PR professionals are no longer practicing simply the antiquated methods that worked decades ago. Press releases and pitching reporters, while still relevant, are not a comprehensive method of gaining exposure and notoriety for one’s brand.
Even the term “public” is somewhat outdated. A PR director would worry about his or her brand’s one image and corresponding messaging – one image for one public.
Now, all PR pros, marketers and advertisers know that there is no such thing as one demographic or one public. This changes the way we as people bearing those titles do our jobs. A PR pro needs to understand the different types of people out there and the virtually endless way to reach them.
Where a printed press release may now fail, a well-timed Tweet, entertaining blog or tailored LinkedIn message may succeed. This is 21st century PR. Not long ago, a pitch to a local paper was all it took for a brand to get a little recognition and get leads coming through the door.
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Content marketing is a relatively new term in the marketing world, but is a perfect fit for the skill set of PR pros. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is, “a technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Is that not simply public relations with a new face? PR professionals are, inherently, good writers, conversationalists and networkers. Content marketing is a marriage of those three skills.
PR specialists and marketers can rejoice in the thought of connecting with the right people on a 1-to-1 level. And while the opportunities for organically spreading the brand’s good word, pitfalls lurk with various faces. Social media can be a platform for the common man championing your company’s product, or it can be a soap box for bitter vitriol and ugly truths. (See: Starbucks, McDonald’s)
The 21st century agent of public relations must be well-versed in the possibilities of danger and backlash with the new tools they wield. Any blog can be commented on. Any social posting can be responded to.
All 21st century PR pros must remember one thing: to incite and invite comments and dialogue is only one part of the equation. The true art and science of PR is found in the response.
Brand loyalty and customer interaction is forged through corporate responses to questions, comments and concerns voiced by the constituents that keep the company afloat. Working with critics, rewarding those who trumpet your brand and keeping content engrossing and enlightening will position your company as a leader.
There is a reason that PR specialist is the fifth fastest growing career in the country. It’s because no one can doubt the impact of social networks and online reputation any longer. The PR field is expanding astronomically, and the business world will never be the same.
Customers will never cease to exist. Your business, like any other, is less of a certainty. Adapt, as Darwin once said, or perish.
For more industry observations, visit GrowSocially.com