The public relations industry is growing and expanding to include new structures. It is also becoming more diverse. Since it is dynamic, it should adapt to meet new circumstances and demands. PR depends on delivery channels, and as these channels change, so will the industry.
The pandemic has also fundamentally changed the media landscape and consumer behavior. Business history has shown that an industry that does not adapt, does not survive. There has been a fair share of upheavals in the PR industry. However, the advent of social media remains unmatched. The challenges facing the PR industry can be navigated in the following ways.
1) Fostering meaningful relationships
With the dynamic nature of multiple different channels now available, to reach audiences, it is no longer adequate to create broad messages for anyone who will listen. It is important to develop communication strategies that reach the right people and build meaningful relationships with them. The message has to create a sense of relevance, trust, and credibility among the target audience. This will not be easy to achieve in today’s climate where distrust of major institutions is on the rise. It is important to devote time to regular dialogue with multiple stakeholders across the business.
2) Turn on creativity
Creative ideas should be a part of social media and content, and they should also inform media relations. PR deals with communication, and good communication needs to be creative. People do not want to engage with mundane, uninteresting content. Any good PR campaign needs to make a connection between a brand and the message it wants to convey. Being creative can enable a brand to effectively portray its distinctive brand voice.
For instance, in an effort to get South Africans to cut down their water usage, Sanlam worked with some of the country’s most popular musicians, encouraging people to keep their showers to two minutes or less. Artists like Mi Casa and Kwesta re-recorded their tracks, making them two minutes in duration, which made it enjoyable for people to have short showers. People listening to the playlist are expected to switch off the shower after a song has ended.
3) Amp up crisis communications savvy
With the role of the public relations professional shifting drastically, PR professionals need to know now more than ever how to handle crises. The pandemic has altered how people look at crisis communication and response. Businesses are dealing with multiple overlapping issues with huge amounts of data being created and exchanged. Businesses face the threat of disinformation and false narratives. The present crisis of the pandemic might continue for a long time, and PR professionals must be ready to evaluate and address the challenges that ensue accurately.
4) Incorporate influencer marketing
Companies have increased budgets to leverage the value of influencers. Influencers present the opportunity of targeted audience growth. In exchange for influencers’ recommendations, businesses offer compensation. PR and influencer marketing work together to shape brand images. For instance, Audible decided to take their social media marketing campaign to the next level by partnering with popular YouTubers to promote their services. This was done to drive conversions in the form of sign-ups.