Public Relations: What lies ahead

The basic definition of Public Relations, as we see it, is to put forth a positive message or create a positive perception about a product, a brand, an organisation, an individual, by using varied mediums of communication and media – be it print, electronic, and off-late, social media. The discretion to use the most effective medium of publicity for a particular ‘object’, however varies.

Public Relations is all about storytelling, about creating/shaping up a perception. The technological advancements in recent times have brought a transformation in conventional modes of PR as well. Public relations is still an ongoing influence that has been able to withstand the test of time. PR still remains a very exciting profession bustling with action and with so much to do all the time.

It is important to know that PR now, is not only limited to writing Press Releases, etc., or pitching for stories only. There is a clear alignment of PR and Marketing, which makes it imperative to not only write content, but to write worthy content which indirectly leads to business enhancement thereby contributing in revenue making. So content marketing has become the current norm.

Technology has been a major game changer for PR, which is primarily the usage of internet. More and more information is available on internet and people are turning to internet to read any news or content about a brand. This results in a strong focus on online content and less on print. So the content must be developed with this clear focus.

All this clearly shifts the focus of public relations to a more customer-focused structure where the consumers play a much larger role in the manner a PR pro pitches a story to the media. This means that the PR strategies should be created with a view to hit a brand’s target segment to create a quick turnaround for the brand. It is vital for PR pros to pitch a story in such a way that the focus becomes what the target segment is hoping to read.

These are exciting times for public relations, with so much to learn from the revolution of sorts that is taking place. There is a lot of focus on visual content — Instagram, Facebook, short videos, Pinterest. This is the future of PR. The key is to carefully plan the visual content depending upon the appeal it will carry on the target segment with a view to measure immediate results. How are these measured? Well, through analytics.

It will not be incorrect to say that the future of PR will have more and more dependence on analytics. Any organisation that does not heed the validation of analytics will clearly be at a disadvantage. However, the good news is that there are a number of reliable analytics tools available and to choose from, for PR pros. We also understand that it is easier to measure ROI for anything published online than in print, as there are many sophisticated tracking tools available for online material.

All said and done, the bottomline is that public relations is here to stay as it is ever evolving with times and has become much more savvy with the growing need of the hour. Of course,  storytelling and reputation building will still remain a constant. But organisations need to be armed with data as a basis of dependable and influential stories in order to rise above the competition.

Traditional PR cannot be shunned ever. So in the future, there needs to be an amalgamation of traditional with modern. This is a sure shot winning formula

Ritu Bararia
Ritu is a Corporate Communications leader, Mentor, Author, Public Relations Evangelist, Thought leader, Advisor. She has nearly two decades of working experience having spearheaded Communications, PR and Corporate Affairs with corporate brands such as Kingfisher Airlines, The Park Hotels, Bird Group.

She quit her corporate career in the beginning of 2018 to try her hand at various related things within communications space. She turned into a published author in 2020 with her maiden book ‘Little Joys of Communication’.

Currently Ritu is Senior Director at SCoRe and, Executive Director Communicators Guild – India (CGI).

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