Public relations – not as you’d know it

Public relations has moved on with technology allowing people to find news, shop and book a restaurant at the touch of an app.

We heard last week about The Independent stopping its print edition. What does this mean? It means that traditional print media is well and truly on its way out. Local papers are turning from weekly into bi-weekly or monthly and city-specific magazines are turning into bi-monthly, Scotland-wide publications.

Stephen Waddington’s post about The Independent’s digital-only move, states eight points about the future of news media. It lays out the whats and the whys.

Dan Slee also wrote a cracking post saying “the digital first Manchester Evening News have been telling PR people, apparently, they won’t look at what you send unless there is an image or a video attached”.

He also writes “when Birmingham New Street re-opened, central government comms people by-passed the Birmingham Mail and the BBC and went straight to the Birmingham Updates hyperlocal site with a video for their 200,000 Facebook page”.

Public relations is now about the PESO model, deciding which channels to use for each audience and determining what content suits the channel. Then, you have to decide if you need to pay to reach the audience directly, so your content isn’t lost among everyone else’s.

Tip: a channel audit will help understand what’s working with what audiences.

One of the biggest problems we’ve had in PR is educating our clients, businesses and organisations. We cannot carry on as we’ve always done.

The job of moving the profession on lies with us – the practitioners. If we allow clients to dictate to us how and what to do, we will not be offering the best advice. We will not be offering the client the best PR service.

Here lies the tricky area, as we know clients pay the fees. BUT, we have to be true to what PR is now and how we can tell a brand story, engaging people along the way.

I was asked recently in a pitch if I’d have an issue focussing on press coverage as a KPI. I said I would. I said that if I was to let that be a goal, then I’d not be investing the client’s budget. I’d be wasting it. Media coverage is an output – it’s the result of an output that counts. Simply put, if no-one is reading papers anymore, why would we try to get media coverage? We wouldn’t have an impact on the reader and there would be no outcome. What we need is a result from the ‘touch point’/engagement e.g. sales, site visits etc.

What has Aura done differently to ensure it wins business and budgets?

We demonstrate what the outcomes are likely to be as a result of the proposed strategy. The key opportunity is the proven ROI that it will deliver. That’s what clients understand. That’s where our love of analytics comes in! We have data at our fingertips and we use this data throughout the whole process. To help inform the strategy and also to demonstrate it’s working.

Now our job is to ensure we create relevant content that will engage. The snappier the content the more engaging it will be.

 

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Laura Sutherland

MD of Aura PR, CIPR Council member and former CIPR Board Director. Former Chair of CIPR Scotland. Fellow and Chartered PR practitioner.

Posted in Public Relations

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