Anyone can look in the dictionary and see that Public Relations is “The practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics,” but what on earth does that actually mean?
Before we can dive into modern PR, we first need to “define” the dictionary definition, because, quite frankly, it’s worthless. Traditionally, Public Relations professionals have managed the relationships between companies or organizations and the news media (which is how they accessed their desired “publics” aka audiences). PR pros would contact a news outlet either by calling a reporter they knew (or thought might be interested in what they had to say) or by sending out a press release.
With the advent of the Internet, however, everyone now has the ability to build a large audience. Public Relations professionals have had to adapt to this new way of thinking. They have taken to the web to find a variety of ways to access their audience.
Blogs and outreach:
Blogs have opened up two great opportunities for a “modern” PR professional (and your company). First is the ability for anyone to build and grow an audience that cares about a specific topic, without the cost of buying TV cameras or a printing press. This means PR pros can reach their audiences DIRECTLY by helping clients write and maintain a blog for their individual audiences. Pretty neat, huh? Secondly, there are a wide variety of bloggers that enjoy talking about specific things. Take for instance “Mommy Bloggers,” a term for mothers who blog about their experiences as a mother, family, etc. PR professionals, like the ones at Johnson & Johnson, may be interested in reaching mothers and young families. By being able to reach out to a blogger who is passionate about a specific topic, as opposed to a “traditional” journalist, PR professionals are able to talk directly to the people that matter the most in their audiences.
In addition to blogs, Social Media (Think Facebook and Twitter) have given another interesting twist to PR professionals. Like blogs, social media has enabled PR professionals to reach out to their audience directly, but with one additional perk. Through the use of social media, PR professionals can interact with their audience in real time, allowing them to help a potential customer, correct misinformation, and even help handle a crisis. Social Media also allows PR professionals to develop fairly personal relationships with reporters and even pitch them stories in a way that is a bit harder to ignore than the old phone call.
The Tried and True:
In addition to all of the new fangled stuff PR professionals are doing on the Internet, the tried and true methods that they have used for decades still have a place in their arsenal. Sometimes, putting out a press release or just picking up the phone (Yes, PR people do actually TALK on their phones) is the best way to reach their audience.
So What Is Modern PR?
Simply put, modern PR is audience outreach. It is used to find your audiences wherever they are and to do what it takes to get your message in front of them in an unbiased way.
Have you used a PR agency lately? Did you like what they did or could you not stand them? Let us know below!