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How the Public Relations domain should reinvent itself

Effective and resourceful contentIn the constantly shifting digital arena, the Public Relations industry is facing tremendous pressure to display outstanding performance. In the past few months, the leading PR firms have encountered a series of challenges such as evolving from pitching to informing, achieving control to credibility, initiating to continuing conversations, developing a customer base to building effective engagement with the new age influencers.

Despite all the obstacles, the PR domain has been successful in helping businesses attain goals and impress audiences. Thanks to technology and the customers’ evolved knowledge, the industry posted a handsome 8% growth rate globally in 2015 while consumers’ trust on other domains such as advertising and marketing touched a historic low.

While Public Relations as a domain is ‘growing’, it is not moving in the right direction. Experts are of the opinion that the digital advancement is hindering the working of varied PR firms at present. Now the question that arises is, is the PR industry that holds the reputation of adapting to new trends seamlessly heading towards a game-changing transformation?

Over the years, things have undergone tremendous change no doubt. Nowadays, audiences are treated as demi-gods making the conventional monologue irrelevant and replacing it with real time conversation online. Thanks to the growing prominence of Social Media, these days everyone is enacting the role of a marketer to ensure value creation. In fact, media professionals have shifted their focus on rethinking how to communicate their ideas effectively, build engagement with audiences and learn new tricks to add value.

Factors like research, advertising, digital technology etc. have helped the communications domain grab a significant portion of paid and organic content. Reports suggest that although the industry has displayed promptness in technology adoption to enhance creativity at all levels, the processes followed at PR firms continue to be the same. It’s shocking that most of the top PR agencies in India are not inclined to use marketing automation technology in their day-to-day activities and enjoy no understanding of the cloud technology capabilities.

Power of technology_1Many PR firms focus on the implementation of short-term campaigns and aim to enhance value by using soft metrics like the number of impressions, ad equivalency, etc. Realising the need for reinvention, the PR industry has progressed towards a new definition to build mutually beneficial relationships between audiences and enterprises. In this regard, content can play a key role as it enjoys the ability to nurture long-lasting relationships. Content Marketing allows PR to play an integrated role in business and communication verticals apart from providing functional expertise. The ability to recognise the need for change is great, but at the same time fostering the change is also significant and should not be neglected.

In this post, we will discuss in depth the effective ways the Public Relations industry can reinvent itself.

  • Practice agility and a lean mindset

It’s time that PR agencies consider ‘content’ as a product if they are aiming to become faster, flexible, integrated and adopt an efficient approach at storytelling. When lean manufacturing principles are applied to content production, multiple factors come into play such as initiating the idea, developing a minimum viable product, understanding the client requirements, opting for data-driven decisions and more.

Since a lean mindset is commonly practiced in the media industry due to its ability to make things flexible, PR practitioners should consider using it as they work on a multitude of things such as identifying the client’s pain points, testing varied hypotheses, surveying the content performance, focussing on content refinement, using analytics, etc.

In recent times, prominent media conglomerates have used this tactic to improve content performance. It allows efficient content optimisation along with ensuring that businesses are able to answer queries and deliver results within a stipulated time frame.

  • Power of technology

The use of technology as a strategic advisor assumes relevance when the lean mindset is adopted. PR firms should be able to identify how to get rid of irrelevant waste and bring more value with the availability of only a few resources. The manual tasks are cumbersome and time-consuming for PR enterprises while the use of technology helps in effective time management. In the absence of a technology budget, use of free tools would be able to ensure smooth functioning of the PR workflow.  Moreover, a lean approach helps to ensure that PR offers quick solutions.

  • Practice empathy and display emotions

Usually, PR agencies do not enjoy access to quality research. Quite often, spending time to understand the brand persona is a better idea as compared to the use of big data.  In simple words, when a client is rooting for an emotional connect; qualitative feedback can be more useful in comparison to quantitative analysis.

Initiate with empathy, identify the problem areas and brainstorm ideas so that meeting the customer requirements isn’t tough.

  • Effective and resourceful content

Crisis management can drive success and no other communication-focussed industry enjoys the ability to manage reputation like the PR industry. Only a better and improved purpose can guarantee the success of a business. Today, PR professionals should emphasise on reinventing their roles as storytellers with a purpose and try learning directly from the clients.

Moreover, the focus should steadily shift towards generating new ideas as well as creating and testing content to address client concerns.

Also Read: Is Content Marketing driving Public Relations growth in India

Conclusion

Public relations agencies need professionals who can educate and inform the clients about the intricacies and the latest trends of the industry. Apart from adopting a bold approach, PR should progress from being a cautious adviser to a fearless creator. At the end of the day, Public Relations should emphasise on serving the public interest.

Also Read: Leveraging Social Media to ensure Public Relations success

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