Public relations (PR), unlike marketing and advertising, is solely about creating goodwill between brands and their audiences. While advertising and marketing are more geared towards increasing product sales, PR is all about maintaining brands’ good standing and reputation in public and the media. This means PR firms often act as the middlemen or liaisons between brands and publications, both traditional and digital.
Would you believe that in 2021, there are PR firms that only use old media—like newspapers, other print media, radio broadcasting, and television—to send the word out about their clients and brands? Also known as traditional PR, these firms never made the transition to new media or to digital, which means that as the printed word dies, they might also die. And if PR specialist Kris Ruby is to be believed, their demise and obsoletion will happen soon, if it hasn’t happened already.
If traditional PR companies want to survive, they need to make the jump to digital. Here are some ways they can transition to new media.
Social Media PR
One of the first things traditional PR firms need to get a good grasp on is social media PR, or creating engaging content for clients, both present and future. This means learning the following basics:
- Learn how all social channels work—how to maximize paid ads, where their clients’ target audiences are located, and understanding their brands’ reputation among internet users.
- Creating a completely different department for social media and digital means either training their current set of employees and restricting the whole organization or hiring a new team of people who already have a good grasp of social media marketing and content creation.
- Understand the ins and outs of the overwhelming world of digital marketing, social media etiquette and faux pas, and the types of digital content that can instantly get their clients canceled.
- Research social media campaigns and strategies that work and those that don’t. Since it’s admittedly a bit late in the game for people who want to dip their toes in the competitive world of social media PR, those who are just now making the switch needs to find a competitive edge or a niche—something they can offer to brands and clients that other PR firms are not yet offering.
Understanding everything there is to know about the crucial relationship between brands and social media is already half the battle—so traditional PR firms need to understand their clients’ goals in terms of wanting to build their company’s reputation and how social media can help achieve those desired results.
Any traditional company that wants to make the transition to the digital space needs to hire a reputable and tried-and-tested team of IT support specialists who can provide them with the following:
- Full suite of services that include a reliable cloud storage system
- Network security and administration
- Setup and maintenance of telephone systems
- Preventative actions that can help keep future issues at bay
Making the switch to new media comes with a new set of challenges, especially in terms of security, so having a skilled team of IT experts can help traditional businesses navigate this new terrain without risking their safety and that of their clients.
Partnering With Influencers
Influencer marketing is also another phenomenon that took place after everything became digital. All of a sudden, film and TV stars were not the only marketable people who could help brands reach their goals. There are now a handful, if not hundreds, of internet-famous people who can influence people into clicking a particular link, buying a specific product, or trying a certain service.
If traditional PR firms really want to make the jump towards the digital world, then they need to embrace influencer marketing. They need to be open to the option of partnering with YouTubers and Instagram models to propel their clients’ reputations forward.
However, since PR is all about helping brands maintain a good reputation, PR firms need to be smart about the influencers they hire. They need to ensure that the internet-famous people they invite will be scandal-free and have a wholesome image. A morality clause might be a good incentive to encourage influencers to uphold the public image that their brands want to maintain.
If traditional PR firms want to survive, then they need to make the switch to digital. It’s never too late to join the race as long as they partner with the most trusted tech support firms, hire the right people, and do their research.