Once upon a time, public relations was essentially limited to penning press releases, organizing press junkets and building relationships with the media.
With the rise of the digital age, however, PR professionals have had to expand their expertise to communicate on an ever-expanding, constantly splintering and quicker-than-ever variety of communication channels.
Adapting to this new digital norm is critical for enhancing a company’s visibility, building better and more personal relationships with clients and generating more revenue.
Here are five tips for perfecting your PR strategy in the digital age.
Prioritize social media
Of all of the developments in the digital age, social media is by far the biggest game-changer. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn have transformed the voice of PR.
While the sheer volume of outlets can seem daunting, the reality is that these social networks give PR professionals a unique opportunity to build valuable relationships with clients and consumers.
Gone are the days of media-forward press releases. Now, businesses can speak directly to their customers and even have more of a hand in responding to poor feedback and managing public opinion through two-way conversations with followers.
It’s not enough to simply write a press release, send it out on the wire and hope a news outlet picks it up. PR professionals need to be more creative than ever with their content.
Any press release, blog post or article should be optimized for further sharing. This includes using SEO systems to help improve search rankings and including like or share buttons to further enhance visibility. It also involves understanding what is IoT and how it can help PR companies more seamlessly connect with clients.
In optimizing content, the goal is to spread a single piece of content across as many platforms as possible.
Adopt a customer service mindset
The digital age has forced public relations professionals to become experts in customer service.
The better the customer service, the more likely a consumer is to return and recommend the product to friends and family. Alternatively, terrible feedback travels like wildfire on social media and can be truly detrimental to a company’s reputation.
To adequately adopt a customer service mindset, PR managers should equip their teams with the necessary skills to handle and resolve client complaints. They should be able to monitor feedback and respond to all customer communication—be it a grievance, compliment or question—in a timely manner.
Partner with influencers
With an increased presence on social media comes a more vital relationship with influencers.
Journalists have the eyes and ears of their viewers and readers, but influencers have a Pandora’s box worth of publicity potential with their loyal base of followers.
The key to choosing the right partner is in their exposure, reach and brand alignment. Do their followers trust and engage with the brands with which they partner? Does their lifestyle and follower demographic align with the niche a company is trying to reach?
All of these questions are essential in determining which influencers are worth incorporating into an effective PR strategy.
Data is not just insight; it’s currency. It has the ability to completely change a PR strategy and transform the outward-facing image of a company.
It is no longer enough for PR professionals to be the creative writers and relationship builders they have always been. The digitization of content has led them to become analysts and strategists as well.
A very good public relations department knows how to take an immense amount of data and turn it into effective conversion tools. They understand the importance of data in understanding what an audience wants to see and purchase at any given moment.
Public relations has always been about communications. With the rise of the digital age, however, the content and the mediums have been forced to change and expand more than ever. Now, it’s not just about one-way tweets and blog posts; it’s about two-way conversations in social media, customer service and data conversion.
The perfect PR strategy will embrace these innovations and allow for flexibility as more changes arise in the future.