Traditional and Digital PR are rapidly converging. A new Holmes report lays out five areas where digital changes are likely to intersect with, and have an impact on, Public Relations this year.
1. Earned vs Paid Content: Publishing content is one of the core aspects of Digital PR. In December 2015 the FTC laid out guidelines for paid content in an effort to prevent consumers from being misled by native advertising. It’s no longer enough to label the content “promoted.” Disclosure now has to be above the content. One of the ways this affects PR is working with the media and influencers. The ability to identify the right influencers – in both traditional and social media – and provide them with content they value so that you get earned media coverage will become highly prized in 2016.
2. Audio & Visual: There seems to be no end to the demand for immediate, visual content. Original images, smart infographics and engaging videos certainly capture the attention of your audience and are now important Digital PR skills. Then we have live-streaming video. The catch here is the skill needed to produce excellent quality visual material. It might be easy to write an engaging tweet, but taking high-quality photos on a smart phone or making a consistently interesting live-streaming video is not so simple.
Despite this appetite for the visual, podcasts are still very popular and are a way to reach and engage your audience – a core PR function. They’re much easier to produce than video, they’re easy to digest and can be listened to while multi-tasking.
3. The Shrinking Social Media Landscape: Facebook is now in its 12th year and shows no signs of slowing down. What we do see is a concentration of content and brand activity on the major social media platforms. PR pros need to hone their research skills, so they know exactly who is on which platform and what messages need to be posted where for best result. (Which means you have to understand data and analytics, another core Digital PR skill)
If you have a Millennial audience it’s vital to be familiar with SnapChat, WhatsApp and Line. Line is going after disenchanted Facebookers as much as it’s hoping to woo Skype-calling addicts. And it would be wise to keep an eye other platforms coming out of Asia, like WeChat, QQ and QZone.
4. Social Media at Work: LinkedIn cornered the market for business networking online. While still a major HR play, LinkedIn has also worked hard to make its platform appealing to journalists – and so it should be a priority for PR pros too. There are other apps making headway for internal comms – like Slack, which already has a large user base and has been valued at $1 Billion. Facebook at Work is a new product currently in beta for the work environment. If you are responsible for internal communication programs you need to be on top of these new services.
5. There’s an App for That: There does appear to be an app for pretty much everything today. People are using apps in a more personal way – many of them health related. And the success of these health apps, along with the Internet of Things – opens the door to other brand engagement opportunities. Smart PR pros will investigate how their brand (or clients) could tap into this trend. There are tons of opportunities for engaging content that can not only entertain, but make the world a better place.
Need help getting your PR team up to speed on Digital PR?