We all know what PR is… or do we? PRSA’s definition states “Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” The key here is communication; the plan is to identify and understand what the public wants and challenge them to question their beliefs. Social media has provided an extensive platform for us to have a “conversation” with the public we are servicing. As a result, PR is always changing and evolving because communications is not a static industry, and media relations has a new dimension unlike years past.
PR professionals can now receive and supply information quickly due to social media. Media relations is no longer just about dealing with reporters and news stations, now we have to engage millions of “journalists” out on the streets because they are relentlessly blogging, tweeting and youtubing! With millions of active users on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, this has now become the perfect place for us to harness the flow of information to suit our needs. BUT, let this be a warning, both the good and the bad can be projected so it is our job to manage what is seen. If media relations is the boat, and social media is the sea, PR is the captain of the ship.
If we look at the more “traditional’ tools used by PR professionals (such as putting together media relations kits, press releases and events), social media has made it so much easier to engage the public. Campaigns can now take off for a client like never before. A great example of this is Go Red for Women. Their short film brought awareness to women about the dangers of heart disease. The video has over one million hits, and this is classified as a success for the client. Journalists are becoming more dependent on social media as a source of information too, and like them we need to focus on how this will make our jobs easier in the long run.
I am all for traditional methods getting us to where we are today, but PR needs to evolve with the pubic to maintain a consistent and up-to-date conversation that is vital to the direction a client may need to move in. So if Twitter or Facebook tells me whether you love or hate what I am endorsing, then I will be fully engaged. Don’t you agree?
Source: The Wall Street Journal