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Evolution of Digital PR by MediaVision is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
The art of PR has come a long way, exacerbated by the evolution of digital as a whole. No more shouting about your wares in the town square – there are more sophisticated methods of getting the message across to your audience.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways digital developments have impacted PR.
The roles of journalists, PRs and content writers have changed, and the lines between them have blurred. PRs now have the tools at hand to create and distribute branded content on the internet. In essence, the modern-day PR is not just a public relations officer, but a social media expert, writer, and idea generator.
While sell-ins used to take place over a leisurely lunch or lengthy phone call, Twitter, email and distribution sites have made the sell-in process faster, if less personal. The turnover time on the internet is so swift that the entire digital PR process has been drastically sped up – one can respond to an urgent PR request on Twitter, and end up with a press mention by the end of the day. While PRs rely less on personal relationships with contacts than they did back in the day, this is not to discount the value of nurturing personal relationships – a foot in the door always makes the sell-in process that much easier.
As mentioned above, the advent of email, social media and distribution sites has changed the PR landscape. Twitter can be used to pitch stories and source contributors or publications – the #PRrequest hashtag was created specifically for this purpose. The benefits of email are obvious – no more face to face meetings required to get a story placed. PR distribution sites can also be a handy tool in the PR’s arsenal – while some are of a low quality, many are industry specific and can get your brand update out to a targeted audience. There are also sites that will distribute your press release out to a mass audience, keep track of your digital communication with different sources and clients, and connect journalists with PRs. How many of these digital tools you decide to use depends entirely on your strategy and PR goals.
The PR industry as a whole has become increasingly competitive, with more brands vying for attention. There are also different types of PR which have evolved: digital vs traditional, B2B vs B2C, and industry-specific. Brands are less reliant on advertising spend to gain coverage – nowadays, there is no need to spend thousands on a placement in a glossy fashion magazine. The same results can be achieved through careful placement of brand updates, cut-outs and commentary. Another change in the industry is the move from paper to digital with regards to media monitoring agencies – instead of monthly newsletters in your postbox, subscribers to services such as Diary Directory and Fashion Monitor now receive daily updates in their inbox.
Bloggers have cut out the middle man, and liaise directly with brands. Instead of a publication or journalist telling you what to buy, many people are increasingly turning to influential bloggers, who provide a more authentic endorsement. Nowhere is this more prominent than in the fashion industry, where bloggers have become stars in their own right, working with big name brands and accumulating a huge social following. A PR hit with a well-known, well-loved blogger can do more for a brand than a placement in a glossy title.
While many traditional PRs are struggling to adapt to the fast paced world of digital, here at MediaVision we have a dedicated Digital PR team, equipped with knowledge of SEO and how PR fits into the bigger picture. As we celebrate our 10th birthday and a decade of success as a digital agency, we’re looking back at how the different promotional channels have evolved. Take a look at our timeline detailing the major digital milestones in the PR industry and let us know which change has had the biggest impact!