The role of public relations in business is critical and cannot be exaggerated enough. That is why companies allocate significant budgets in this department. Any organization, regardless of how long it has been in the business cannot function effectively without visibility for its brand. This is regardless of how good a product or service is. Through PR campaigns, companies are able to attract attention to their brands. They also educate audiences and boost recognition.
There are numerous digital communication avenues consumers have access to today. So corporations face even more challenges when it comes to keeping up a positive image. Some public relations aspects may not have changed much over the years. But there are always new trends to keep up with. Knowing which ones to watch out for in 2017 allows PR practitioners to structure successful campaigns.
What Are Public Relations?
PR involves activities that create a positive perception of a particular company. However, it is not the same as marketing. The distinction between the two is pretty obvious. Unlike marketing, PR is about informing the masses as opposed to spending money to persuade them. Public relations professionals use different tools of communication to disseminate information to different audiences.
Companies have PR departments whose job is to respond to media requests from journalists. They also clean up any corporate mess that an organization may get itself into. When done right, a PR campaign can revive a dying business. In other cases, it can drum up buzz for a new one. PR concentrated on sending press releases to media houses in the past. But the evolving nature of the industry requires practitioners to look at it from a wider scope.
Who Uses Public Relations?
The need to paint a likable image for the public is not only critical to commercial enterprises but governments, nonprofits, and individuals as well. Public relations can take an ice bucket challenge and turn it into a movement to support ALS research funding. A corporation can use its volunteer programs to cultivate relationships with potential investors.
There is no limit to what public relations can achieve. That is why every entity that has a public perception uses PR campaigns. Notable individuals such as politicians and celebrities use PR to keep their public reputation in check. But this is because mostly, their successes depend on it. All these entities use PR by hiring third party agencies. There is also the option to create a whole department to be part of an organization.
How Important are Public Relations in 2017?
Staying relevant in the public’s eye will never lose meaning, regardless of what year it is. Any company that is reevaluating its public relations objectives for the year should realize that the discipline is taking a bigger piece of the pie. This is in opposition to the minor role it had only a few years ago.
Traditionally, PR was just an afterthought that was added when everything was finished. But the increased interaction that companies have with today’s consumer demands a different approach. Public relations professionals are slowly recognizing that the industry has more power beyond forging ties with the media. PR helps organizations and individuals create connections with consumers. They also focus on other players as well. Such relationships come in handy when developing brands.
4 PR Trends for 2017 for Your Business
Public relations practitioners must keep an eye out for the latest patterns. This may alter the way public responds to campaigns. There is new technology emerging each day. So PR experts must learn about the novel tools that may shift the industry in 2017.
1. Video Is Booming
Social networks are steadily adopting live streaming for communication. Meanwhile, users are making the most of it. Facebook, Periscope, and Google+ are just examples of the sites that are making live video famous.
Public relations practitioners must know how to turn video streaming into a useful tool. It will help them at disseminating information and shaping public perception. Video is very efficient as a storytelling medium and its roles in influencing public opinion. But PR professionals must know how to use it properly to avoid over-saturating audiences with content.
2. Reputation Management Is Crucial
The fake news concept is not new. Many corporations and individuals have been victims of malicious publications online. The reach of public relations expands further in 2017. So reputation management is one of the areas that a specialist will have to focus on.
Maintaining an online presence is a no-brainer for corporations in the modern world. But that also means exposing your reputation to various threats. PR agencies have their work cut out for them regarding protection of brand reputation.
3. Big Data Matters
Public relations campaigns work because practitioners understand their audiences. They also know how to approach them to elicit the required responses. However, that is only possible when PR professional have access to accurate information. This is where big data comes in.
Third party research companies have grown immeasurably in the past year or so. That trend will continue beyond 2017. PR companies have to work with data research firms to not only create appropriate campaigns but also measure their impact.
4. Instant Response Is Trending
Modern day consumers have come to depend on real-time responses to events. This is an element that impacts public relations. When a company gets into trouble of any sort, audiences expect replies in a matter of hours. Actually, they prefer even minutes. A majority of consumers is on social media. They count on companies to be there also to maintain interactions. Through these sites, organizations have the opportunity to react fast to any event. This way, they make certain that consumers receive that information.
Creating a Facebook or Instagram page is not enough. PR professionals must know how to use them. Responses that take too long leave a vacuum for the fake news media to swoop in. So they fill it however they see fit, which can be catastrophic for any company.
Putting PR into Practice
Public relations provide entities, commercial or not, with the chance to construct images in the minds of the public. This is done through avenues like social networks, press releases, and corporate events, among others. The field of PR is getting a new face. This is thanks to the evolving communication media and other technology.
Analyzing key trends help PR specialists to anticipate market performance. This way, they come up with campaigns that align with best practices.
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