FEB 2024

PR professionals will have to stay ahead of new trends, embrace cutting-edge technologies, and constantly adapt to digital strategies

For corporations and organisations, public relations (PR) has long been an essential part of a successful communication strategy. Creating press releases, handling crisis communications, and cultivating relationships with journalists were the traditional focuses of public relations. However, the PR industry has changed significantly since the dawn of the digital era.

The evolution has been driven by changes in technology, society, and the media landscape. While the traditional ways of media placement still hold importance, the emergence of digital PR has turned out to be a game changer. However, despite the dynamicity, the industry has proved its resilience, remaining increasingly prominent for brands. Let us now delve into the evolution of PR in the digital age.

The digital revolution: the new PR imperatives

According to a research report by the Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI), the share of PR budgets of companies has risen from 10% in 2019 to 17% in 2022. This data proves a significant uptick in the relevance of PR for brands, possibly owing to the rise in consumption of digital media. More and more businesses, including new-age startups, are turning to PR for communicating with their stakeholders, crisis handling, public affairs, and advocacy. A variety of business offerings have also been transformed, thanks to digitalization.

The transformed landscape integrated with technology has prompted several businesses and brands to make the transition into the digital space. The rise of digital platforms, the omnipresence of social media, and the surging relevance of influencers have changed the industry, where PR agencies are transforming into integrated communications firms. The techniques of PR have also witnessed significant changes, which have given rise to several emerging trends such as the integration of artificial intelligence (AI), influencer marketing, the surging importance of research-based stories and integrated communications becoming a norm.

Integration of AI

There has been a significant rise in the usage of cutting-edge technologies such as AI in a myriad of industries, and PR is not an exception. Slowly and steadily, the use cases of AI are rising in the domains of data analysis, monitoring media, and sentiment analysis. With the power of AI, professionals are able to collect and analyse large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. This allows them to make data-driven and more informed decisions, which also helps them to develop and implement more effective PR strategies.

The rise of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has found its way in the PR industry, where brands look forward to collaborating with them to reach a wider audience and attain valuable outcomes. The netizens also seek an authentic connection as well as credibility. In this regard, influencer marketing can help a PR campaign, since followers of influencers respect their advice and opinions and view them as reliable sources. Furthermore, because they are seen as impartial sources, they also function as social proof, increasing the degree of trust that both current and potential clients have in them, making influencer marketing a must-have strategy for PR campaigns.

The growing prominence of research-based insights

In an era where there is an overload of information, we have both authentic and misinformation, which is difficult to differentiate from each other. In a bid to get noticed in this clutter, one needs to substantiate their piece with data points and research-based insights. The journalists are also preferring pitches that are well-researched and thought through. Research-based stories are more valuable for publications as the preferences of their readers have changed significantly. Therefore, the prominence of data- and research-based stories and interviews has increased.

Integrated communications are the norm

Owing to the several transformations in the PR industry, new approaches to reaching the right audience with the right message and in the right place have emerged. One such approach is integrated communications, which combines various channels and disciplines to curate a unified and consistent brand image. The goal of using this strategy is to maximise the impact of communications. With the help of integrated communications, PR professionals are able to amplify the PR campaigns, ensuring the message reaches a wider audience.

All things considered

Udit Pathak,
Founder & Director,
Media Mantra

The evolution of PR in the digital era brings significant transformations as well as exciting opportunities. The industry is seamlessly integrating with marketing and advertising, creating a holistic approach to communications, and enabling consistent brand messaging and visibility online. Social media, artificial intelligence, research-based insights, and influencer relations have all transformed the PR landscape, which is also leading to the industry’s swift growth.

The future holds many promises for the PR industry, which is moving forward with bold narratives that resonate with brands and their audiences alike. With greater client and agency collaboration, there will be an expansion in the knowledge base as well as a comprehension of their changing needs. Most importantly, PR professionals will have to stay ahead of new trends, embrace cutting-edge technologies, and constantly adapt to digital strategies in a bid to cater to the needs of brands in the dynamic digital landscape.

Read the whole article here – https://etinsights.et-edge.com/the-evolution-of-public-relations-in-the-digital-age/amp/

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