The modern landscape of PR has changed. When companies hire a new PR firm, not only do they expect placement in top-tier media like The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, but they also expect their message to be trending on Twitter, written about by bloggers and optimized on Google. Internet publishing has become democratized and PR strategy must reflect these trends in order to be successful.
Here are three new PR trends to consider this year:
Increased content development
Newsrooms are shrinking and PR professionals must deliver a full package of resources when pitching to time-strapped journalists. When pitching to journalists, it is critical that you include hyperlinks to past stories or analysis pieces to contextualize how your clients fits into a news story, rich media (such as photos or video B-roll) and the offer to write a byline. In addition to writing more content in pitches, remember that your clients’ corporate website has the potential to be a PR publishing platform. Corporate blogging and social media outreach allow your clients to get their message out in real-time during breaking news events when a media pitch and publication typically take longer. Live-tweeting during a congressional hearing or posting a recap blog post after a conference help ensure your clients’ message is published in a timely manner for optimal audience reach.
Blurring the line between paid and unpaid media
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have proven to be major amplification tools for media outlets, and therefore should be considered in an overarching PR strategy. According to a December 2013 report from The Atlantic, sponsored content sites like Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Upworthy far surpass their traditional counterparts such as CNN and The New York Times when it comes to social media likes and shares. As PR professionals, it is our duty to leverage these new media outlets for PR opportunities and to work with client marketing teams to recommend the best sponsored content web opportunities.
The new front page
People consume their news very differently than they did 10 years ago. News consumption is increasingly customized thanks to Internet publishing and third-party apps. Some people prefer RSS readers, Twitter or Facebook to get their news, while others love specific verticals on news websites, such as Yahoo! Tech. Few people still read physical newspapers, let alone read a single news outlet from front to back. So how do you determine what news makes the front page and what doesn’t? Instead of defining a front page moment the old fashioned way, PR practitioners should take a more holistic approach. A new kind of front page win could mean a client story is trending on social media or showing up on the first page of web results on Google News. But don’t get me wrong, it’s still great to see a client on the front page of a news magazine or newspaper. Now there are just more varying degrees of success.
Do you have a definition of the New Front Page? Leave a comment below, or tweet us at @RHStrategic with the hashtag #RHetoricBlog. We’d love to hear from fellow PR professionals and journalists alike.
RH Strategic is the PR firm for a hyper-connected world, delivering integrated media, social & digital strategies for technology, healthcare, and public sector markets.