In a world run by Penguin’s and Panda’s, brands are struggling more than ever to get people to their site. Restrictions, black techniques and paid advertising are making this digital world a hard one to navigate in the realm of PR. In its adaptation to the digital world PR has realised it’s a bottom up process- It’s dictated by what people want, when they want it and where they want it.
PR’s have realised one important thing which has set certain brands aside from the rest, people don’t care about your brand and people certainly don’t care about your brand message. So, give them something they do care about. In the scary world of online the public (I’ll be generalising for a moment) are selfish, ephemeral and hard to please. With ten Google search pages (nine of which will go forever unexplored) they know what they’re looking for so Content Marketing is all about creating that interesting, relevant thing to grab their attention, be that an article, a competition or a viral video. This works especially well on Social Media, are your influencers more likely to share a link to your company satisfaction figures or will they follow the link to the ten cutest puppies instead?
It’s all well and good if your PR team can get its head around this digital world. Okay yeah we’re online we’ve got a mailing list, an active Twitter and are successfully and easily tracking our results. But what brands are now finding is the key to success is a blog for the people based on human motivation. Like this one right here, a blog is a hub where a community can come together, often featured on a company’s main website.
Public Relations has had to survive in this content filled world and the only thing that survives? Good content. Googles algorithms make it impossible for people to cheat their way up the Google search ranks. If you want to drive traffic to your site regular, good content is the only way. To quote my lecturer, ‘Be Interesting.'(Bailey 2013: 215) That will get your business far and ensure success. And this digital world has given content a platform- a whole new hybrid of Journalism and PR and Marketing.
This rise of Content Marketing suggests ‘Content is King’(Dietrich., 2014, p.133)in any successful marketing campaign. Previously there was no media platform for brand content proving that Public Relations has adopted new techniques over the years. A problem of a digital world however is that there is too much out there, too many PR agencies, too much content. With the internet having so much out there each firm has to stand above the rest, which will be the real test of any brand.
This is something Red Bull does extremely well. People go to Red Bulls’ website not to put in a bulk order of the energy drink, but to read about motorsports and surfing. But hey, traffic is traffic. And returning traffic-to keep up to date with exciting Red Bull events- creates a community. Building a strong community is such a successful PR technique because this creates loyalty. And loyal customers spread their positive experience with the brand; free publicity.
But keeping your community happy and avoiding the brand hoppers takes time and a successfully managed communications team. Social Media is the platform for publicly keeping your community on your side. Monitoring online conversation about your brand allows you to steer it in a positive direction, helping to reinforce that positive image.
So we can say all day long that PR and the internet are a good combination, but what we need to admit to ourselves is that Social Media is King. It is the platform everyone is on which enables you to share; complaint settlements, brand stories, content marketing, press coverage and survey results to an extremely large online audience.
If used right Social Media and Content Marketing are two key tools in engaging your audience and keeping your brand on their good side. This is because it’s such an open forum, gone were the days where you would only deal with Journalists. Now, everyone’s watching. It isn’t a case of not wanting or not being able to adapt to online, it’s a requirement. Which Public Relations is doing very, very well.
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Bailey, R (2013) Building a Personal Brand Online in Share This Too, Wiley
Dietrich, G. (2014) Spin Sucks. United States of America: Pearson Education, Inc.
Prbullets.tumblr.com, (2015). [online] Available at: http://prbullets.tumblr.com/ [Accessed 13 Jan. 2016].