The public relations field is naturally respondent to changes in technology. In the last 20 years, PR strategy has evolved at a drastic pace—thanks largely to the ubiquity of social media and networked society. Here are four ways in which technology is changing PR.
The term ‘big data’ refers to large, diverse sets of data that can only effectively be collected and analyzed digitally. Big datasets are created over long periods of time and can include factors such as customer purchase history, internet use, and market fluctuations. In public relations, big data has proved to be very useful indeed. The analysis of big data allows PR professionals to make sense of long-term market trends so that they can effectively forecast future developments. This accurate forecasting means that better PR strategy planning can take place.
A big part of public relations strategizing has always been concerned with being seen in the first place. This used to involve the employment of traditional marketing and media relations tactics. The paradigm has, however, shifted. A huge quantity of brand awareness is developed online. Sites like Google route vast quantities of traffic to sites, and ranking well on search engines is crucial. The processes used to increase the page ranking of a site are collectively known as Search Engine Optimization. Specialist companies like Stryde help PR and marketing professionals deliver peak internet performance for clients. They do this by optimizing client sites for mobile viewing, researching and implementing keyword strategies and formatting websites for fast loading. All of these factors influence search engine ranking.
Rise of the influencer
These days, influencers are key mouthpieces for companies looking to improve their PR or market their goods and services. Influencers have risen out of the popularity of social media. These figures are self-trained internet personalities that often have a very close relationship with their viewers. Because of this close relationship, they can reach audiences that are out of the grasp of traditional PR methods. Sponsoring influencers or making them ambassadors to a brand has proven to be a very profitable move—which might explain why the influencer marketing and PR industry is so vast.
Crisis control challenges
All public relations professionals know the importance of responding to a crisis before it becomes a disaster. Public relations disasters can seriously damage a company’s reputation and undo any good work their PR team has done to sure up their image. The worst PR disasters have gone down in infamy.
Two technological developments, in particular, have made containing PR crises much harder in the modern world. The rise of social media has meant that disasters can spread out of control extremely quickly all over the world—often getting the attention of traditional media companies. The near-ubiquity of mobile technology means that there is almost no barrier to the spread of bad publicity.
Public relations professionals need to respond to and quash PR disasters more quickly than ever before—all thanks to changes in technology.