This month Cerub PR has turned 12 years old. As some people have pointed out, we’re now entering our difficult teenage years!
Running a business for 12 years has had its ups and downs, some amazing successes and some disappointments, but as most businesses fail in the first two years, we’re very proud to have been running successfully for 12 years.
The last few years have seen a huge amount of change in the PR industry. When I started in agency life at 23 I remember sending out hundreds of press releases via post, or fax if we were lucky. Very few people had email and even fewer companies had websites. You wonder how we coped now. With that in mind, here are our thoughts on five ways that the PR landscape has changed since 2003.
Press releases are still relevant and if you’re pitching a story, journalists will still request press releases and you can distribute them via press wires and press services, but they can be used in many more ways. By creating a press page on your website you can post your press releases and distribute the link through your social media platforms. If press releases are written with SEO in mind, they can also help people using matching key words can find your website more easily.
These days, content is king and PR companies are increasingly working with their clients to produce and share content including anything from videos, podcasts, blogs to events and competitions in order to inspire target audiences and increase brand loyalty.
PR people by nature are story tellers, so it hasn’t been a huge leap for them to take on the role of content generators, particularly in terms of putting together text. As the role of a PR person is to engage with clients’ target audiences in an interesting and engaging way without being too promotional, creating blogs and text content should come easily to them.
Reaching the Media
In the old days, third party endorsement used to be all down to the journalists, however the media landscape is changing and over the past few years we have seen the rise of ‘citizen’ journalism. Technological advancements – in hardware and software – have been the largest driving force behind this change allowing anyone to share their opinions with the wider world in seconds. PR professionals need to understand the new dynamics between brands and audiences and find new, collaborative ways to tell stories.
The Numbers Game
Today, PR campaigns need to be approached with an emphasis on meeting the key business objectives, whether it’s driving website traffic or increasing engagement on social media. Measurement and analytics play a very important role in showcasing the value of public relations for a brand. PR professionals are gradually moving away from ROIs and AVEs as more and more sophisticated monitoring tools are constantly emerging allowing them to illustrate the true impact of their work.
Engaging with your Audience
These days, everything is PR. Making a bad impression or providing bad customer service isn’t just between you, your customer and their friends. It can go viral in a matter of seconds and it’s what people will remember about you. Ten years ago if there was a problem you could deal with the complaint and it would generally stay between you and your customers. Now you need to be on the ball, respond to customers quickly and be shown to be a company which cares and takes complaints seriously.
The nature of social media means that information is given perpetual life so it’s how you respond to the way that people talk about you that can affect your reputation. Of course, good customer service should go without saying, but in PR terms, your reaction says a lot about you as a business.