If digitalisation is the vehicle for transformation, public relations is its accelerator. Welcome to this world of PR where, as a PR specialist or an aspirant, you brace yourself with preparing media kits and press releases, liaise with tens of hundreds of media professionals, work on overall branding and be overwhelmed by the fascination of establishing relationships.
What exactly is PR then? To put it simply, or as Jean-Louis Gassée says, ‘Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good’. To the outside world, public relations appear like magic, where a public relations specialist seems to roll a dice and voila, you’re on your way to some surreal promotion.
Traditionally, PR practitioners have had a direct approach to branding and communication. But then, of course, we’re talking about the pre-digital era, where even though the internet was invented and had come into force by then, it wasn’t leveraged enough to harness its potential to the fullest. Public relations back then meant utilising staple mediums of print: newspapers, magazines, gazettes; events, radio & television.
Now, while advertising could be said to be used synonymously with PR, the difference between them is the fact that while the former is on a paid basis, the latter is more focused on earning recognition by providing information in the form of releases. PR is paid too, but tends to have more credibility than mere ads.
Flash forward to the second decade of the 21st century aka 2011 onwards and we see a revolution out there- Digital marketing combined with social media and a little common sense gives the best combination for an effective modern-day PR. It’s tried and tested. Not your average PR, you see?
The mediums: Started with bloggers, cold calling, mail merge, product reviews. Facebook and Twitter were hailed and worshipped. WordPress became the next best thing since white bread. But it’s 2021 now. Bloggers are now influencers, cold calls evolved into DMs (which at times can be creepy), mail merges have got the touch of personalisation and Twitter is now replaced by TikTok, Snapchat and everything else that you can think of.
The next question that comes to mind is the difference between public relations and advertising. While public relations has donned its hat and performed the brave tasks of dealing with crisis and changing public perceptions, digital marketing is more of identifying key elements that are crucial to a brand’s success and generating returns- That’s what every business aspires for, right?
Digital PR could be said to be a perfect tactic under modern-day internet marketing, coupled with elements of PR that focus on sending press releases and media campaigns, albeit online. Digital PR is the best of both worlds and does its bit to improve SEO, social media mentions, backlink building and every other thing associated with the world of digital marketing.
As we’re on this subject, let’s broach the topic of publicity. To keep it simple, publicity is the ‘headline’ or ‘by-line’ of the promotional content, something that is rolled out as a crisp excerpt to get the ball rolling. Public relations is managing the campaign and the brand, as a whole.
Traditional or digital, we’ve come a long way with this. It’s said that while some people are born gifted and creative, others tend to go to a PR specialist. Gone are the days when your product was your Most-Valuable-Player (MVP). These days, it’s all about how well you sell: Story-telling.
To summarise, the benefits of public relations are massive. Your brand’s value is increased, with an enhanced overall brand image. You have established better and long-lasting relationships in your area od expertise as well as across industries. But that’s not where it ends. It’s no more the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. If you’re a restaurant owner or a cookbook writer, you can have a dedicated hospitality PR agency managing your brand. Likewise, if you’re a not-for-profit organisation aiming to work with the elderly, you can have a community relations PR agency focusing just on your needs. Then there’s consumer PR, corporate PR and the likes.
Basic PR package: Observation> Research> Analysis> Planning> Curation> Optimisation> Execution
i.e. Digital Marketing + Digital Transformation + Event Management + Crisis Managment + Social Media.
Have a look at Jan Digital’s services and see if we’re the right partners for you.
Call yourself a Communications Administrator or a Copywriter, a Digital Strategist or a Public Relations Officer- You got the skills, you flaunt them.