PR in the digital mix
However, recent experience working on an expensive paid-for campaign with a large client with very strict positioning rules taught me that PR’s role is more important than ever.
Within a campaign landscape, with messages being crafted in formats that mimic editorial content (i.e. native) and on platforms that allow for real-time and very public consumer engagement (social media), it is essential that PR is given a seat at the table at all times.
PR has always been about growing and managing a positive relationship between an organisation/brand and its audience. In this very consumer-centric, fast-moving, digital world of media – this process is has become vital. A brand’s PR team has to be responsible for crafting and looking after the messaging in the public arena. They understand how a brand should be positioned and why it’s important to do so, and they will know best how to react if that message changes.
Because the lines between paid-for and earned content online have become so blurred and it’s often hard to tell which is which, it is no longer as important to bring PR on board to secure the ‘more credible’ editorial content. But, it has become critical for the PR team to be hands-on when it comes to crafting the content messaging and managing the response to it.
Content is the cornerstone of almost all media campaigns these days. While there is still scope for the good-old press release in the right context, the majority of my strategies these days revolve around content, most of it earned, some of it paid-for.
Content is a very broad term – it can refer to articles, video, social media posts and more. In my opinion, the PR role should be driving the messaging and positioning of all of it. Which means that there needs to be a much, much more collaborative effort between a brand’s advertising agency and PR team. And where does that leave the digital team? Well, digital is no longer a stand-alone – or at least it shouldn’t be. Digital should be integrated into every communication team.
These shifts are paving the way for a very interesting agency of the future, and an exhilarating time to be working in communications.