Our Director, Verity Blake, talks about the possibilities of PR in today’s digital age and how to connect with your customers in an authentic and genuine way that builds trust and confidence in your brand.
PR has changed considerably since I first started working in the industry over 20 years ago.
Fresh out of University, I learnt back then that the way to build your client’s reputation and brand recognition was mainly securing ink, column inches and airtime in key print and broadcast media, read by client’s target customers.
There was no internet as we know it today, smartphones or video conferencing. Email was limited, and social media wasn’t invented.
Aside from the typical press launch, lunch briefings with reporters, and telephone interviews, the press release was the main PR tool for breaking news or sharing information with specific print and broadcast reporters.
Printing, stapling and letter stamping was the order of the day to get a giant mailer out the door, which could take hours out of your busy schedule.
But now companies are spoilt for choice when it comes to ways to communicate with stakeholders and customers.
Companies not only have broadcast and national media to boost their brand and credibility nationally, or access to the printed trade media with their loyal sector specific subscribers. They also have a plethora of online news sites, social media platforms, blogs, websites, videos, podcasts, webinars etc.
All this has made public relations more public than ever; to talk with prospects in various ways and means. Companies can be more targeted and creative with their PR than ever, using exciting, new ways to share news, advice, updates, insights etc.- all at the touch of a button.
Through a well targeted media strategy, companies can now leverage the large, loyal readership of powerful news sites which also have high number of social media followers – whether business, consumer or sector focused; sharing genuine content and lending credibility to your brand.
Social media, podcasts, videos, blogs, websites, online news-rooms are all examples of where organisations today can also build and ‘own’ their own media channels with well targeted audiences.
And then there’s bloggers, analysts and influencers who can all spread the word, change perceptions and buyer decisions. While speaking opportunities at well attended (virtual) industry events can raise profiles and build trust and confidence in your brand.
Join up this activity, and you have one very powerful PR programme that reaches customers through all touch points and via their trusted sources, which doesn’t have to cost the earth thanks to the accessibility of digital media.
But for PR to capture the attention of today’s digital customer, your content must be authentic and legitimate. It must be fact not fluff. Use the opportunities that PR presents today to educate, engage and entertain – not to sell and self-promote because the minute you do, you’ll lose your audience’s trust — and a potential customer for life.