Lord Chadlington, CEO at Huntsworth PLC, once said, “PR is about creating content & managing communication – in whatever format it is.” Today with technology, being ingrained into our very being, Digitalization has bulldozed its way into the PR industry. The PR industry continues to evolve before our eyes, one of the greatest forces at work in this change is technology. It has changed the way the PR industry operates today, technology has helped PR agencies become more efficient. Advancement of technology has enabled the industry to further personalize the client and media’s experience at every touch point.
Public Relation companies and PR professionals, across the globe, are utilizing technology and digital platforms to improve their service, communication and give clients a better experience. The latest advancements have benefited the industry in innumerable ways, it helped in increasing operational efficiency, made life easier and assignments are handled more efficiently. Technology has helped PR professionals in media monitoring, networking with media, search engines, social networks, measuring output values, research, crisis management, Artificial Intelligence, social messaging tools, email, big data and also help agencies to get new business leads. Also, today people are lapping up media like never before through their electronic devices. Adding to that, the pandemic has had a snowball effect on the widespread adoption of digital means. In the face of lowering engagement levels for traditional media and highly fragmented media consumption, the only way ahead for PR is ‘Going Digital’
As technology upgrades, the platforms change. But what remains constant is how seamlessly the narrative is woven. The digital media adds another level of credibility to the mix. For example, take the case of social media, the interactive channel brings forth a sense of radical transparency to the equation which unforgivingly lays bare any facade built around the brand. Despite this, channels like social media, interactive webinar & podcasts humanizes the brand which will aid the audience to form deeper meaningful connections with the brand.
The digital landscape has become a fierce battleground with various brands fighting for visibility, attention and a splash. With competitors vying for the attention of the consumers, it reminds me of the iconic rivalry of magnanimous proportions between the two media giants The New York Times & The Washington Post. The two locked horns to get the bigger share of scoop & grab eyeballs at all costs but at the same time, this competition resulted in some of the best journalism ever seen. Similarly, who comes on top of this is decided by the level of engagement with the audience, digital storytelling & connection made with the audience. Championing this game involves how fast you can spread the word using multiple platforms or outlets.
We as an industry have also struggled with the measurement matrix in the past with no definitive methods to calculate the ROI. But by Digital means, we are able to quantify the reach, width & efficacy of the messaging using data-driven tools right out of “Moneyball”. Does this mean that it is an end to the good old, tried & tested traditional media? Quite contrary to that, we envision both to coexist parallelly with each other serving a varied audience base. Infact traditional media has even innovated & revamped itself to keep up with digitalization. Having a strategy encompassing both the mediums will ensure to cover the whole gamut of the audience base.
Today, the role of digital platforms has changed from being a source of marginal efficiency gains to becoming the foundation for transformation. The future of PR isn’t robots taking over our jobs, rather it is making PR professional’s lives easier. Technology and more importantly digital platforms impact on PR is going to continue to evolve, and technology in PR is here to stay. It will continue to play a role in the profession’s evolution and will push them and their PR agencies forward in the right direction.