Digital Media is definitely a wild card affecting many brands. Social media in particular
has become an epidemic that is transforming every business and economic sector.
The impact of these new technologies and systems throw up new challenges and opens
up opportunities to professionals and others who know how to take advantage of the new methods and tools. An obvious example is the evolution of self-taught computer and web designers, developers and programmers which threw up new challenges to College-trained
computer graduates. Also is the impact online job sites has redefined the practice of human resources in terms of publicity and recruitment. As with every new technology, it has become a
game changer for Public Relations practice.
1. The Public is Back!
Yes, the public relations is no more about what you can do improve
communication with your target audience and stakeholders alone, you need to pay
attention to how the publics can now influence your organisation and its
interests. Stakeholders are now more empowered to respond to organisations’ decisions,
policies and people in a record time and in a massive way.
The multiplicity of communication platforms has also thrown lots of
challenges in the way of the reputation manager. Having a customer’s article
about poor service showing up in Google search results before your
organisations’ website is guaranteed to make you lose customers. Online
Reputation Management, Social Media Engagement, Search Engine Optimisation and
Marketing skills are the new competence levels and it is the business of a
public relations manager to be abreast of consumer touch-points and the various
ways in which consumers can provide feedback on organisations products and
2. The Rise of New Influencers
Trust agents used to be opinion leaders, community heads, monarchs and brand ambassadors – but not anymore. Across industries and sectors, new influencers are rising and
it has little to do with their educational or professional certifications.
People in your industry with huge social media followers have become powerful
influencers and those with the knowledge of marketing and promotions are fast
turning themselves into marketing and advertising professionals. A
quick example is the rise of Nollywood Love, an online YouTube channel that
streams Nigerian films online. The organization and its founder have become big
players and influencers within the industry and he didn’t start by showing up
for auditions. With the democratization of information, everyone has become a
potential publisher and the owner of big media houses are paying attention. The major lesson is this; today everyone has the power to influence the perception of your brand.
3. Time is no longer money
If you still quote ‘time is money’, it has become an old fashioned
assumption. Really time now costs you more – it is influence, authority,
authenticity, originality and all the leverage that huge amount of money may
never buy back. Letting news about your organisation or client travel faster
that you can respond will cost you more than you think. In our 24/7
customer-centric world, social media has increased the potential for negative
outcry to gain visibility faster than your brands’ media efforts. The challenge
of the PR professional is to be well-informed, methodical, think fast and be
proactive about every public relations issue that affects your organisation’s
4. Researchers are Smiling
The speed of information sharing is faster than ever before and PR professionals
have access to a wealth of content that can be shared with consumers seeking
solutions to a problem. Creating a simple keyword based search on Twitter and
Facebook can connect companies with people at exactly the right time to serve as a helpful
resource. By engaging proactively, PR teams can create new opportunities to
create a favorable brand impression that can lead to the beginning of a potential
Social media has also positively influenced the long standing dynamics of the PR-Journalist practice. Journalists seek information from online sources and PR professionals have also benefited from the added access to available channels. Account planners and researchers can also use digital polls management platforms to conduct their research and analyse results.
5. Digital Reputation Management
Since people are going online to find out about brands and product, it is
only natural that brand managers will be concerned about their online
reputation. They will demand that their Public Relation Consultants expand
their level of competence online and to ensure that traditional communication
channels are extended into online communities.
Rankings of negative comments, opinions and perceptions of your brand (or
product) in search engines now become important to your business.
The business of the reputation manager is now more complex, dynamic and
evolving – the time to rest on the oars can’t be now.
6. Conversation is the new Communication
The word ‘mutual understanding’ a consistent feature of the definition of Public
media has added more tools and re-structured the strategy
and execution of successful two-way communication.
Two-way conversation. PR pros can no be information peddlers that puch information into the
media and sit back and expect to succeed. you can be assured that your PR press release will be answered quickly and in a personal manner, faster that all the time you took in developing it.
Timely, two-way communication is the “new normal.” Listening, engagement and thought
leadership are now three areas that PR pros manage.
7. Analytics, Methods and Tools
PR pros need to understand and use emerging social media tools.
Analytic tools can help track return on investment, including direct costs of staff time spent using the tools, social media marketing efforts and measurement of the traffic it drives to a company’s website.
Social media tools is already becoming the main interphase between
journalist s, PR professionals and the publics. There are many tools onlinen to
help achieve this.
It is the business of PR professional not to get lost in
this season of digital disruptions.
It’s time to step up to the game!