Traditionally, Public Relations was focussed on achieving results through earned media. With the increase in digital media and the public’s ever-shorter attention span, to be effective PR cannot afford to limit itself to one particular type of communication.
The PR professionals of the future aren’t concerned if their target audiences receive the message through organic media, paid media, or via a third-party. The solution is all about an integrated approach and making sure that the correct message gets through and has impact in terms of informing, educating and influencing behaviour.
One of the earliest cases of crisis management occurred in the 1890s when 80 baseball players left the National League. Fans and team owners were furious! With the help of the media, the National League was able to straighten out management-labour disputes and repair the relationships between players, fans and team owners.
This may not be interpreted as the most modern form of PR (and it certainly wasn’t called “Public Relations” at the time) but it is important that we can relate what happened here to the basics of our services: using interpersonal communication and public events to persuade others to believe in what we have to say.
PR continues to evolve and professionals now spend a great deal of their time on content creation. With the ongoing development of the internet, they are now focussing less on traditional techniques and are trying to make outreach and engagement with the media more organic.
Increasingly, the world is turning to the web for information and PR must keep up if it wants to retain its role as a communicator and facilitate dialogue between organisations and their publics. The internet has changed the way we communicate immeasurably, with social media, blogs, SEO and email marketing now essential elements of the online toolbag.
Our focus now is to shape a message for a client in accordance with its underlying marketing goals. If one of our clients is attending a major exhibition, for example, we would suggest inviting key media to a briefing and providing all essential images and copy to help them write their story. A series of press releases would enable us to impart key details at the appropriate stages to build interest, and we would share details, of the event and the products/services the client is showcasing, on their website – in the dedicated news section and the media centre – and through social media channels.