What the ‘New PR’ Looks Like

Anyone still practicing “press release PR” is having a tough time these days as the “new PR” has forced them to build their own audiences, generate their own content and take a hyper-targeted, mobile-aware and abbreviated approach to communications.

I recently led a panel discussion on the topic, “Public Relations in a Social World,” during the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit held at Gannett/USA TODAY headquarters in McLean, Va. Here’s what the new PR looks like:

Organizations need to build audiences and in essence “become the media” via their own blogs and social media accounts. We just can’t rely on the traditional (overworked, under-staffed) media like we did in the past. If you do a really good job with this, the traditional media might even become a competitor that could scoop the news you’d rather share directly.

The traditional church/state lines have blurred with some media outlets, as they weave paid content into the mix to make ends meet. This creates challenges and issues regarding labeling the content, so be aware of this emerging issue.

Target your content via hyper-specialized media outlets/blogs, niche publications and hyper-local sites such as Patch. This approach is usually more effective – and more realistic – than the big hit in the daily newspaper.

PR now takes into account four forms of media: paid, earned, owned and shared. We need to seamlessly integrate them into the PR plan, along with a smart use of hashtags, video and photo content, pitching with Twitter and wisely incorporating tools such as Vine.

Of course traditional PR strategies and tactics can’t be ignored, and your content delivery will fail if you come off as too promotional. Make sure a PR pro who understands journalistic principles is guiding your program and don’t forget to update that old crisis PR plan and make sure it addresses mobile and social media.

Thanks to a great panel for sharing their insights: Kevin Dando, director of digital marketing & communications, PBS; Paul Mackie, director of communications, Mobility Lab; Mike Smith, CEO, MSBD; Elizabeth Shea, president and CEO, SpeakerBox.

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