How PR is adapting to the digital Media Landscape

by - 09:06

With the revolution of media, it is essential for PR professionals to understand the media landscape and to find ways to manage its development.

This revolution is based on freedom and access to several channels and platforms of communications. Reporters, editors, PR practitioners and any professional connected to media are becoming useless because anyone can report news now.
In one hand, it is a way to receive the news faster and being informed about what is happening in the world. On the other hand, journalist follow rules and choose appropriate stories to send to the public, and these new trends do not. Each medium, radio, television and newspapers, have different rules and specification of each individual working in that department.
Starting from 2009, a lot of magazines and newspapers closed in the United Kingdom due to big competitive issues with online press industry. " The internet surpassed newspaper and radio as a primary news source back in 2010." (The Pew Research Center and the Project for Excellence in Journalism). Readers rather turn to news websites than paying for a hard copy newspaper which will be thrown to the garbage after a few days. Magazines and newspapers institutions are becoming unnecessary since editors and reports are working from home.
The media landscape of today is completely different from a few years ago. They are not in charge of breaking the news anymore; it is the social media platform and websites of media owners that are in position to do that.
It is important to remember that PR is overcoming these by making connections directly to journalist, instead of the newspaper firm.
While it may be true that PR is losing their room in the newspaper and they only have one option, to be freelancers. They become faster than newspaper, delivering the news before anyone else.
In order to be considered credible and a trustworthy source PR professionals have active blogs about their expertise and constantly update strong posts about perspectives on current PR topics and issues which show their potential and enhances their reputation.

"It is inevitable that as traditional media continues to fragment because of technological change, and consumer behaviour becomes increasingly participatory, that organisations must change how they communicate. (Earl and Waddington 2012)"
The social media we know today started as a basic mail tool to send information to others. After study and years of modern revolution these tool originated others tools with higher concepts and skills which provided a faster and more accessible way to send messages.  
It is easy to understand that PR job relies on communication and interacting with the media. This media progress is either helping PR getting the message across or enabling them to do their profession. 


In fact, PR enjoys the constant change of the media and the advantages it brings. But it comes with the need of optimisation, asking for new skills and knowledge.
In my opinion, the media landscape asks for a new curriculum with specific skills, which as creativity, social skills, patience, how to analyse numbers (audience insights), internet addiction, 24 hour availability, fearless behaviour and adventure personality. Those requirements are a demonstration of adapting to the new media world.
However, the digital world asks for a 24hour worker, someone behind the back office to publish fresh content.
The understanding of social network will become the principal skill of PR. Networks are focus group that spread message and information and in a second it becomes a virus. In order to answer to media new paradigms that is what is required to be a good PR practioner.

It has become clear that publishing news online is quicker than waiting for a newspaper to be printed and sold. Newspaper once they are sold cannot be updated. On the other hand online newspaper are accessible from any location and can be shared. 
Internet has all the arguments on their favor, for example, using English. The main language of the world can be helpful in spreading news and even if the reader does not speak English, online channels give the opportunity of translation it.
Public Relation should look at this progress as a way to develop and create opportunities. Since it is about communication, being able to send messages, having connections and a decent reputation, media can offer those options. Media display several ways to send the message, with social media online programs it is easier to meet new people, new cultures and have more platform to inform our ideas and finally to have a corporate reputation, the majority of people need to believe in it, for example, having a credible source speak about it.
However, one of the disadvantages of this digital changes is the lack of credibility of some sources. 
Today, almost everyone online has a voice, it does not matter if that person has a degree or any type of academic merit, the only thing it matters it capacity of being hear and followed. It is really important to make sure the source is truthful and identify the right individuals behind those sites and pages in order to investigate its credibility.
So how to have influence? Some people just have influence for no particular obvious reason but there is an actual reason, it can be the fact this person speaks really well, being extrovert and being liked. 
The influencer needs to start a conversation with an interested topic and engage with his followers.
PR has broaden their universe and accept any type of communicators. Often we see regular people who become opinion formers about products, publishing reviews about it and encourage others to use. Those are pr practioners who create a corporate reputation of a products and its brand. Those brand owners appreciate their job and influence on the online public and offer them more products for free.
I can mention other signs of adapting to those changes, for example, the impact and power an unknown blogger can have. Influencers used to be leaders in the media with high merit and prestige. Recently, anyone who has the right number of followers or visitors at their page can influence a wide audience. People are taking the freedom of expression to another level, anyone who has an opinion and has the magical way to make other believe or follow his perspective can be an influencer.

PR should be introduced by the new journalism, engaging with the public, using image, videos to boost your story. They need to source a range of different content types, making videos which illustrates better the news. Online readers want more than just an episode written, they want to see everything.
In order to not be left out of the picture, include links to all your social media account and make your stories available in first hand.
Once again, are all this source of information credible? The problem about this accessible online world is the power, everyone has power and these situation leads to lack of control and there is no authority in charge of that-
For instance, the Wikipedia case, started as being umber one source for all academic assignments almost in every country English native and after studies and analysis, it has been considered as a not so trustworthy source of information. Universities prohibit it as a source for academic work.
If PR is willing to become a new internet slave those circumstances might ruin the main reason of PR existence, which is sending press release which help journalists telling the truth and bring people into consent. But now press releases are untruth with false information, which discern the profession of PR.
Unless, the profession still relies in old media because their information are original and follow law restrictions.
Following Weinberger 2009, there are more threats to PR copyright, government laws, marketing and people. 

Despite all the arguments about internet lack of transparency, online media has acquired total control. Several PR workers find themselves jumping from job to jobs because either their firm is not adapting to media changes or it is and they do not want to follow their terms. 
The question is, why should PR adapt to those changes? The strong argument is that society lives for the digital world, spend all their time on mobile devices or any gadget connected to the internet. In order to reach those people, PR needs to compromise.

Examining all the various angles and factors involved in this adaptation, I believe that PR is adapting to media intentions. 
Audience is always the first priority, when time changes, the business automatic changes too, do not accommodate yourself, always learn new skills for the future. Because following every digital new it is not enough, it asks for a digital innovation from PR, they need to create something that is going to create a buzz, for example, a mobile application.

Above I mentioned about opportunities and investing on them. PR often uses one of google tools to earn visibility for their press releases. It consists in paying for the number of views they want to obtain.
Having an online audience creates the chance for the audience to respond. Public Relations strategies and tactics need the audience perspectives.
It is not only about building a mutual understanding with the public, it includes marketing service, brand journalism, social media interaction, online research and social media management. PR department in a business allows it to become a publisher or a broadcaster.

"Every company is a media company now." (Rosen, J)
PR has become more than a discipline of the relations with the public, similar to the Media, business industry, digital world, marketing and Advertising. With all the power that digital world has gained, all of them are joining the digital world which makes them work with each other. Uniting PR and Marketing or PR and journalism is a good strategy to survive.
By following advertising steps it uses this revolution as a way to create strong relationship with other businesses. For example, advertisers and marketing experts are making money, buying space (banners) in popular website, especially news website, to advertise their brands. Since reading news is one of the dailies activities, those websites tend to have higher percentage of visitors.
Also by using social media, Twitter, PR attempts to use a micro blogging strategy, talking in a limited characters post about the main issue and having an enormous impact on the audience. "(…) more is not always better."( Robbins, T)
As you can see, Public Relations is experiencing every field of this awarding new media vision. The practice is investing on its online presence by finding solutions for their profession issues in the past. A few years ago the importance of this profession was doubtful, with the high prestige internet has gained; their participation in the business world has become notable. Another reason for this belief are the media personalities emerging, names such as Robert Philips, George Pitcher, Alastair Campbell and Nick Mulligan (bloggers), 
Even though it is a complex adaptation, communication is still fundamental to every sector, to economy, government, public order, etc. This is a media age and everyone is communicating, the interaction with the public is still need.
I believe that in the new era it is important to be known. People need to hear our name and connect to somewhere "That guy from tumblr" "He has awesome quotes in twitter" anything that will stand out. Our profiles become our brands.
This insightful commentary makes understand that if it is necessary Public Relations will constantly reinventing itself, abandon the areas that no longer respond to society needs or make money. 
PR is not resigning the change, it is accepting it in order to develop better PR solutions. This media landscape change is not a disruption but an innovation.

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1 comments

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