15th June 2016
The role of PR (and its tactics) need to rapidly evolve if it’s to continue to be relevant
During a meeting this week, a highly-experienced business leader said, whilst we were talking, that “PR is dead anyway.” Although this can sound like quite a controversial statement, it’s actually one that I’ve heard said a few times lately. Whilst I wouldn’t say that saying that PR is dead isn’t exactly true, I would say that there are more modern ways to get your company or product known.
Having worked as a journalist with many PR people and agencies over the years, I have seen PR tactics change and its role is changing also. When I first started as a journalist we would be inundated with paper press releases, by fax and then thankfully, eventually by email. Regardless of the hyperbolic content they contained, the expectation was that the publication I wrote for would absolutely need to publish a story based on the press release. I still get them, and most haven’t changed much over the years. Inevitably, as the years went by I looked at them less and less. Why? Well because, even as a journalist I was finding press releases less relevant – and I know that this is the case with a lot of journalists.
“as a journalist I was finding press releases less relevant – and I know that this is the case with a lot of journalists”
Where companies used to be able to issue press releases and know that they would generate coverage they are now taking a different approach.
This is where content comes in. Instead of writing a press release that is sent out into the wild with the hope that someone will turn it into a story, why not create a ready-made, expertly authored story in the first place? Better still, why not publish it on your own channel that you can curate and direct as you want to and not be beholden to someone else?
Marketers love to quote the old adage that “no one is interested in your product”, qualifying this with the relief that what it provides as a benefit is what’s important. And this doesn’t just apply to a product’s intended end-user; imagine how even more disinterested an apathetic journalist is if they cannot tell the story of how emotionally affecting the product can be in benefiting a person’s life!
You can see why traditional PR is seen in some circles to be dying. A lot of PR is about raising awareness to new products, but with the sheer amount of noise on the internet it is hard to get noticed. And sometimes the facts about a product get lost in an effort to provide a high impact release. After all, press releases, briefings and announcements still rely on the journalists receiving the information and getting everything right, which isn’t always the case.
If you own the conversation then you can own the information that is released as well as how it is delivered to its intended recipient. Even better, is to have the ability to create and service a community of people who are looking to engage not only with your content, but ultimately your brand and your products also.
PR isn’t what it once was. If you create the right content, put it in the right place with the right engagement borne out of an affinity relationship with your audience, then you can achieve far better and richer results.
Content marketing as a PR tactic is so much more than just releasing the facts and figures about your products. Content marketing tells an engaging story about what problems your products solve. And how positive this content makes the reader feel is just as important as the promise of what the product will deliver.
If you think that PR is dead or it just isn’t working for you and perhaps it’s time you tried content marketing, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to discuss how to create an effective voice within your customer community.