With the increasing advent of digital and the decreasing space available to Public Relations professionals for earned media, this is a question that is bound to pop up in a marketing discussion or when new executives enter the profession. The definition of PR is changing. Rapidly. Today Public Relations is about reputation management. The sooner we understand this … the better. But unfortunately, PR has only been associated with media coverage for the longest time, so it is but obvious that the industry is bound to ask this question -Is it still relevant today?
Yes, it is. Now more than ever. With so many channels of communication open for a brand to reach out to its audiences, a PR manager now has the added responsibility of making sure the credibility of each of these outlets is verified and do a thorough check on the brand fit along with repercussions on reputation. The media management part of our jobs just exploded. The PR manager of today has to make sure that visibility is not only earned in the right medium but also is maintained at a critical level for most part of the year. Getting lost in a sea of new, small or irrelevant media mentions or a position of media fatigue is not an enviable one for a brand.
With the above, the scope of media relations increases exponentially. The media universe just got a hulk-size boost out there. New age media – portals, podcasts, video blogs, blogs, social media bloggers all hold a strong grip on customer perception. Hence, the need for you to develop and maintain a healthy, respected relationship with this segment.
Influencer engagement has become key towards developing customer perception and brand reputation. Initiating, managing and ensuring this segment is engaged on a deeper level with your brand and its spokespersons will be a handful. Not just managing it but also identifying and pitching to the right influencers will be a delicate balance. Today, this encompasses specific influencers from not just traditional but new age media and beyond too.
The significance of good internal communication is finally becoming a reality for most brands. A significant factor in developing a strong brand reputation, brands have woken up to the power that a robust internal communication engagement will bring to them. As a PR pro you will be deeply involved in making sure that the content and tone of communication is set right; identifying and briefing your spokesperson and ensuring s/he is ready to take it on.
The onus of ensuring that the quality, tonality and strength of the brand content that goes up on various platforms along with the impact on brand reputation is in line with the brand’s vision and mission largely lies on the shoulders of the PR pro. You need to be the custodian of the brand reputation on all fronts. The team will look towards you to give them guidance on the same.
Earned brand alliances are an interesting PR tool today. An exciting opportunity for PR pros to create and develop content that goes beyond the scope of traditional media content. The possibility of creating focused, impactful and high energy content that can be driven into earning media credibility and accolades from the target audience; is a wonderful chance for PR pros to showcase their creativity. Personally, I find this space very challenging and thrilling.
The scope of ensuring client visibility in earned media will always stay. However small the pool, each win is hard earned and a big one for the brand. This will always stay. Though the brand now understands that the scope of work that was earlier deemed as only ‘coverage’ is so much more – A hard earned by-product of all the above, if you ask me.
So, to answer the question – is PR still relevant? Yes. Now, more than ever.