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Digital PR: The Changing Face of Public Relations

April 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 206

Before the Internet, PR was all about press releases, fancy cocktail launches, and access to journalists. A new company would usually take about six months to gain traction in a market, as the PR process was a lot slower. In the "Age of Twitter", however, a start-up company can become an overnight success - or failure - based on how many fans or followers it has.

This has dramatically changed the role of PR, although any well-rounded PR company will know which mainstream companies or media to approach. They will know how to integrate 'traditional PR' with 'digital PR'. Media contacts are still incredibly useful, and a balance between trust and technology is needed. Good communication between the PR company and the media is vital. A PR company needs to have a credible track record, quick response times, and a respect for deadlines. If this is the case, a journalist will usually slip in a well-angled PR story, or even an influential tweet.

Good, old-fashioned media contacts are still essential for digital PR, as various media releases and coverage can now be peppered with SEO keywords. News content can be optimised with appropriate keywords or popular phrases, as can clients' "digital assets", such as photos or YouTube videos.

Digital PR enables an expansion of audience reach and influence. It can also increase visibility and the client's online reputation. The use of social media can engage the audience, and build relationships with them. It can be used to improve customer service, or recruit fans and followers for focus groups.

However, detailed research - about both the audience and the client's online presence - needs to be undertaken for effective digital PR. Before diving head-first into the rocky waters of social media, PR companies need to glean certain information: how the public perceives the client or brand, who the key competitors are, and what the client's objectives are.

Most importantly, a successful digital PR launch is not possible without a well-planned strategy. If a clear PR strategy is in place, social media can be an incredibly powerful tool - and the client can go from zero to hero at lightning speed. Bill Gates once said, "If I was down to my last dollar, I'd spend it on PR." Effective public relations - especially in the digital age - are essential for any business success. Take a page out of Bill's book, and spend your last dollar on PR. The rewards will be exponential.

Sandy Cosser writes on behalf of Livewired, a specialist PR company in South Africa which offers traditional and digital PR and branding related services.

Source: EzineArticles
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