In today’s modern world, technology is the driving force behind everything. It has truly revolutionized the way we interact in both our personal and professional lives. The speed at which we can access real-time news and information is the fastest it’s ever been, and there’s no sign of it slowing down.
The public relations world is a prime example of an industry that has experienced significant changes in the wake of this information-overload era. In order to keep up with the 24/7 news cycle and endless exposure to content from both established and new sources, PR professionals have had to adopt new practices and use advanced technologies to their advantage.
Social media is one of the biggest developments that has affected public relations professionals, journalists and news outlets. It not only connects billions of individuals across the world, but it has opened a direct line of real-time communication between all the different players that make up the media industry. The various, constantly evolving social media channels have propelled PR pros to be more proactive in managing brand reputation online, while also becoming more reactive and attune to shifts in the public opinions and perceptions of clients or stakeholders. In order to stay on top of trending news about your organization, clients and relevant industries, it is essential you are actively monitoring and engaging on social media platforms.
Another advancement that’s transforming PR is the ability to track and measure almost everything that has an online presence. Public relations professionals, journalists and really anyone who has a social media account or access to a website can gather analytics and data about published stories and see how people interacted with the content. Tracking the success and overall reach of a published article, backed by hard evidence, is such a commonality now that, according to Muck Rack’s annual journalist survey, more than 41 percent of journalists consider the potential “shareability” of a story before they begin writing. Keep that in mind when brainstorming ideas and potential articles to pitch to reporters, and be sure to highlight the elements of your news that will likely garner attention and elicit action from readers.
One major shift in the pubic relations world is how journalists are obtaining information. Only a few years ago, public relations professionals would write a traditional press release, build a strategic media list and distribute the announcement to reporters via email. Although that is still common practice, many journalists are now using social media platforms, Twitter in particular, as their first source of news and story ideas. They are even seeking sources for stories through social media, so it’s imperative to have a presence and be actively looking for opportunities online so your organization or clients aren’t missing opportunities to provide their expertise.
Even though the traditional method of writing a press release and sending it to a reporter is still a viable option, there are new ways to stand out from the crowd and catch media attention. Now that technology is so widely available, PR professionals can easily incorporate new ways of pitching topics that were not possible before. Creating and embedding infographics are becoming more and more expected in pitches, and many journalists require an image associated with each press release. Video and virtual reality components are also becoming a common occurrence for outreach to the media. If you have the option to provide a journalist the ‘whole package,’ without forcing them to have to take on additional work, they will be more prone to using your story idea.
New technology features are forcing public relations professionals to keep up with the times and alter their approach and way of thinking. Since we as a society are so connected and can access information during all hours of the day, it’s our job as PR pros to use the resources available to make our organizations and clients stand out from the minutiae. By taking full advantage of current available technology and being early adopters of emerging technology, we can continue to shape and define the new public relations world.