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The Continuous Evolution of the Public Relations Agency

Traditional public relations was an easier practice when comparing it to modern digital PR. Publicists, now known as PR specialists wrote engaging press releases, made long lasting media connections and battled for top media placement in prestigious publications for their clients. While a top PR agency still does all those, the endless consumption of our content coupled with the growth of content marketing has changed public relations forever.

PR and Marketing Technological Advancements 
Technology is a driving force in the evolving face of public relations and marketing agency services. As social media platforms and trends ebb and flow, PR specialists need to keep abreast of those changes and trends. For an example, a company could spend resources building and maintaining a presence on one social media platform, only for it to die and then need to build a whole new social media presence elsewhere. Case and point, MySpace, despite efforts to reinvent this platform with Justin Timberlake as not only a celebrity influencer and an investor. Despite those bold moves, MySpace is no longer a popular destination among social media platforms even though the site still receives over 50 million unique users in the U.S. each month.

As new social media platforms emerge and take hold, PR specialists must transition and tailor their content for each social media outlet. For example, LinkedIn is not the best place for office selfies on a Friday afternoon and Instagram is not the appropriate outlet for 1500-word advertorial piece. Knowing your client, buidling buyer personas, knowing your clients target audience, knowing which platform(s) are best for your client and knowing how to maximize their effectiveness for each client are skills that a modern PR specialist has. Just because a client calls you frantic because they heard Kim K using a new social media platform does not mean it is a good fit for your client and their brand.

Digital Marketing and PR Campaigns 
Technology and social media have forced brands and their public relations teams and experts to leverage new technology and move their PR efforts and campaigns online.  Strategic PR utilizing current technology offers brands endless opportunities to capture engage potential or existing customers. The technology options are endless from engaging and interactive websites, to new apps for your smartphone, or interacting with a celebrity influencer over social media.

Brands, unfortunately, make the mistake and attempt a digital PR campaign with disastrous results. Experienced PR agencies have integrated and embraced content marketing with digital public relations into a specialized art. Leading public relations agencies have PR specialists that strictly work digital PR campaigns. These specialists are weaving a brand’s story through writing content or bylined articles to submit to major websites; they are communicating and engaging with fans on social media building an active audience base and training executives on social media. Strategic PR campaigns leverage both traditional and digital PR for maximum impact, content consumption, increased brand awareness and a positive interaction with your brand. Now more than ever, public relations and SEO benefit eachother.  Savvy public relations agency's are using keyword research to boost their client's public relations campaigns. Still, we are meeting the consumers on their terms and on their platform of choice but we control the messaging.

Content Has Always Been King in Public Relations 
Long before “keywords”, award winning public relations agencies and PR specialists understood the power of a good content and story long before anyone said: “content is king.” As consumers adopt new content delivery technology and are shying away from traditional media like newspapers and television, brands large and small are turning to their content marketing agencies to develop video and other forms of content that meet the consumers at the time and choosing and on their preferred platform. B2B and B2C companies are adopting content blogging and content marketing in record numbers. Brands should trust their PR agency embrace this shift and tell great stories like we have always done.

 Consumers have thousands if not millions of pieces of content a day to engage with; from reading a blog, watching a VPR (video press release) or watching an advertisement on Facebook, the list is endless. The content that we, as PR and content professionals put have to be relevant, compelling stories that consumers are interested in and want to hear. To the dismay of many public relations professionals, many brands have brought content in-house and now bombard consumers with features, pricing, and the never ending “buy right now.” It continues to be a difficult shift for brands, especially emerging brands that consumers and media are no longer interested in obtaining your brand’s or product’s information from a press release. Remember, journalists are getting hundreds of pitches a day so experienced PR agencies are turning to social media to get the scoop out, tell a story, and share great content.

The Use of Influencers in Marketing and PR
For decades, luxury PR agencies matched brands with top tier celebrities to walk the red carpet in one of their gowns, participate in print and digital advertisements, or endorse their products. 

Today, consumers look to social media, mommy bloggers, and other influencers for information on what products to buy, how to dress, what makeup to use, which teeth whitening kit is best, the list is endless.  There are niches and influencers for every type of consumer out there

Some brands attempt to navigate the brand influencer selection mine field themselves but often step one a mine when selecting a celebrity or social media influencer. Just because you like them on T.V. or on social media does not mean they are a good fit for your brand. PR specialists can steer you clear of the mine field and find you a celebrity or social media influencer that fits your brand. The PR specialist will complete a background check, will ask for references, ask those references what the ROI was on the influencer campaign and many more important question. Selecting an influencer is an important step; don’t take it alone because influencer marketing is here to stay.

From integrating a content strategy, leveraging digital PR with traditional old-fashioned PR tactics, and influencer campaigns, public relations is evolving. Just like the PR industry evolves, so do the PR specialists and there lies the strength of our industry.

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Published on March 16, 2017,  Modified on October 31, 2017

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