According to Ronn Torossian, founder of 5WPR, the public relations industry doesn’t incorporate new strategies and trends too quickly compared to other industries. In fact, most practices tend to be dominated by old trends and habits that were popular years, or even decades ago. However, with how quickly times are changing, it’s time for the public relations industry to start changing along with the rest of the world.
Plenty of people have started believing that social media platforms are on a decline mostly because of some crises and bad headlines in the last couple of years, but the number of users that practically every platform has is still increasing. That means social media platforms are likely not going to be going away anytime soon, and while some people might not be fans of these types of platforms, there’s still a great way for companies to reach their target audiences. In terms of targeting audiences on social media platforms, companies should start utilizing visual press releases that will grab a lot more attention compared to text-based ones. That means companies also need to start sharing their press releases on their social media accounts, especially considering the fact that many reporters and journalists tend to use social media platforms to find news stories they can write about.
Additionally, the gap between content marketing and public relations has been increasingly blurring over the last few years, and the most obvious example of this is the highlight of the customers that the most successful companies have been making. Public relations is all about companies teaching the public while increasing their brand awareness. On the other hand, content marketing, as well as general marketing are all about creating different types of digital content to present to the target audience at different points of the buying journey they’re going through. That means, both public relations efforts, and content marketing efforts from businesses can be achieved by creating digital content. For the public relations industry that means PR professionals and agencies need to start thinking about all of the ways that they’ll be able to share the story of their clients, that’s going to best resonate with their target audiences.
Ronn Torossian On Service offerings
As Ronn Torossian notes, in the last few years, there have been plenty of different platforms and software that have been developed in the public relations industry. Nevertheless, it’s still quite difficult for PR professionals to decide to leave the Word documents and Excel spreadsheets behind and start utilizing more structured, automated, and measured work tools. With all of the different improvements of these types of PR software, as well as the automation features and workarounds that plenty of other platforms also started including, it means that the PR industry doesn’t need to include a large number of people in creating campaigns for clients anymore.
There are plenty of different platforms that companies can use on their own to create whatever type of content they want for their PR campaigns. For instance, it only takes a few minutes for a business to select a handful of stock images from a free platform like Unsplash, that are all high-quality, and design promotional materials using those images on another free platform, such as Canva. There are platforms that can help companies embed photos, press releases, social media updates, and more, directly on their websites without having to work with a website developer that’s going to do those things for the business. All of this means that all the different technical and creative requirements that used to be considered essential for creating PR campaigns or press releases have quickly turned into very simple and easy-to-use tools. These days, anyone can sit down in front of a computer, pull together different types of data points to create a chart, that they’re then going to put inside an animated video, and then share it on social media platforms while interacting with the audience. Although all of these tools are available to practically everyone, there is still some basic skill sets that most people will need to learn or refresh before pursuing such efforts.
Companies can improve the trust level they have with their audiences, as well as their media relations efforts through storytelling that revolves around the target audience. However, aside from the story itself, the way that it’s told and delivered to that audience is just as important. That means no one is going to hear about a company story if it’s not delivered in the right way, which means it won’t be spread to other people either. Different types of audiences and demographics have different needs and expectations regarding storytelling and how brand stories can be delivered, on which channels they need to be published, and which types of content work best with which audience. Additionally, as the target audience has been changing so has the technology and the way that content is perceived by various audiences. That means companies need to ensure that they are working on telling the right story through the right content, to the right audience.
As Torossian notes, this is precisely where digital marketing practices, as well as content marketing, turn into a very important element of storytelling. Without the right data, companies can end up telling the wrong brand story to the wrong audience for a long period of time, before finally realizing that mistake and switching strategies, which leads to losses. Another important reason why storytelling is essential is simply the number of digital ads that consumers see on a daily basis on every device they’re using, as well as the low effort PR strategies that many companies that don’t understand the way that public relations functions are using that consumers come across. When a company is able to focus more on what its target audience wants from the business, now, and in the future, is what’s going to be making the difference between a mysterious corporation that’s constantly taking over new markets while getting little engagement, and a small business that can create a loyal community around its brand.
Plenty of businesses have their own opinions and thoughts on the way they should or shouldn’t be working with influencers, and how effective those promotional methods might be. However, the problem is that regardless of the results that come from influencer marketing, these influencers still carry out a lot of popularity, followers, as well as, of course, influence over other people. With the influencer career option becoming more developed and even mature, many people end up learning what the best practices might be, and how they need to pursue different strategies in it. What’s most likely going to happen is that more nano or micro-influencers with niche audiences will begin working with more brands, simply because they have more engaged and loyal followers that can provide the businesses with a lot more measurable success on those campaigns.
Additionally, plenty of industry publications have noticed a decrease in the number of readers or even a general lack of interaction with industry publications. When that’s paired with the increase in how many people use social media platforms on a daily basis, it’s obvious that companies need to start using those platforms and working with influencers as soon as possible. In fact, more and more people are stepping away from following industry publications simply because of the amount of information that can change between different editions, as well as the long and slow periods of the publication cycle. On the other hand, through social media platforms, companies can always stay on top of whatever is currently happening, whether it’s a news topic or a popular trend with the customers. All that is to say that companies need to start conducting media relations and developing dedicated budgets to work with influencers that are going to help businesses target the right audiences with their promotional campaigns. Although this has already been happening for a few years now, it’s always a good idea for companies that haven’t been utilizing influencer marketing campaigns to start doing so by establishing communication with their key contacts immediately.
As previously mentioned, the lines between public relations and various forms of marketing efforts have started getting a lot more blurred in the last few years, which means that marketing professionals will need to start adapting to the latest PR tactics and learning new skills, while, on the other hand, PR professionals will have to do the same in terms of the marketing industry. This way both industries can develop a better understanding of each other. For both of these efforts, data is going to be essential, especially since the main focus on both marketing and public relations lately has been on online opportunities which allow companies to be honest in their promotional efforts. Through data, companies can generate more insights, which can be turned into new ideas. Additionally, any ideas that are backed by data tend to work a lot better for companies and deliver better results compared to making both educated or uneducated guesses about what the target audience will like to see.
Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR, a leading PR agency.