Technology in Public Relations – Importance & Impact

Organisations are modifying their business models and approach towards Public Relations (PR) and Marcomm (marketing communications). Here, technology has a great deal of importance and continues to play a crucial part in the changing revolutionised Public Relations sector. The methods of PR and strategic communication are entirely different now than they were 20 years ago. Today, with everything migrating inside the Digital Marketing arena a company’s reputation often hinges on what happens online. Let’s take a look at some of the changes that technology has brought into the PR sector which has given rise to digital disruption in this space.

Big Data – The most important component of PR has always been media monitoring and research. The process of doing the same has entirely altered due to technological advancements. Today the focus is primarily on online impressions and reputation and that is achieved with the help of big data. Putting it simply, big data refers to vast, diversified amounts of figures, facts and information that can only be identified, collected and evaluated digitally. Big datasets are developed over time and can include information ranging from client purchase history, internet usage, online engagements, and market changes. In the field of Public Relations the insights gained from big data are extremely valuable. Deep diving into big data research allows PR professionals to understand long-term market patterns and foresee future changes more effectively. Accurate and precise forecasting allows for more effective PR strategy preparation for an organisation or brand. 

Visibility – Being visible to the targeting demographics is of utmost importance in any PR strategy. Today the internet creates brand awareness with a significant shift in the paradigm. Google and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo drive large amount of traffic to websites, thus ranking well on search engines is critical. A Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy with various techniques like – relevant identified keywords, updating content catering to consumer preference, metadata, thought through URL, alt tags, back linking etc. have an impact on search engine rankings. These collectively improve a site’s page ranking to remain as a top of the mind recall for an online purchaser. Currently there are standalone digital solutions firms who assist PR and marketing professionals in delivering optimal internet performance for their clients.

Accelerating influencer engagement–The pandemic hastened the popularity of “ordinary influencers” with the emergence of “unfiltered” or less-scripted content. The influencer marketing space is vast and very profitable for the brands with the ability to reach audiences and potential purchasers which traditional PR approaches cannot reach. Brand custodians must tap into influencers categorically based on authenticity, niche and reach. There are tools like Klear, Upfluence, Creator.Co and Grin which helps to assess and measure the metrics of any influencer campaigns. Influencers were always critical in enhancing a company’s reputation and now organisations are gaining access to a new level of customer involvement and brand reputation by collaborating with them extensively. 

The Visuals – Consultancies are now tapping into more than simple images, TV interviews and television programmes. Streaming has completely changed the ballgame of brands and the way they present themselves to the public. Currently there is a steady rise of holograms, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) in communication tactics. Brands and businesses already use AR-driven filters, which was popularised by Snapchat and now Instagram, to generate fascinating high on recall content. Last year, Snapchat released Snap Original which is an augmented reality application in which the American rapper Bhad Bhabie interacted with the users as if they were in the real world. Experts predict that future breakthroughs in this field will be very significant and impactful. 

Effective communication is a timeless skill that we carry with us wherever we go, and technology is the new frontier.  The public relations sector has been forever altered by technology, more so in the recent times. Organisations that want to have successful PR strategies and campaigns must keep on top of the latest developments while trying to incorporate them in every form of communication the brand strives for. 

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sulagna Pal
Sulagna Pal is a communications specialist, currently pursuing masters in PR with New Media from Munster Technological University, Ireland and works as student-intern in an Irish PR agency called Healy Communications. She was a Senior Account Executive at Adfactors PR and has been associated with Genesis BCW from 2018 - 2021. Her core expertise is in integrated communications and reputation management. Her exposure has been across traditional and digital channels, and is skilled in driving media strategies, communication campaigns with prominent corporate brands. In India, she has been responsible for managing brands like Boston Consulting Group, Virgin Atlantic, 3M, Tata International, Monsanto, Jana Small Finance Bank, Cartoon Network, and Education & Tourism New Zealand. Sulagna holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a diploma in Corporate Communications and Event Management.

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