• Charlotte Pearce

Evolution, not extinction

Updated: Sep 11, 2018

What? Consigned to the ‘dead as a Dodo’ cupboard? It is no more, deceased, just like a certain dead parrot all those decades ago?

Evolution, not extinction

People have opinions. They say the press release is dead, along with regional newspapers and community newsletters. It’s all online they say. It’s all about SEO and tweets.

What? Consigned to the ‘dead as a Dodo’ cupboard? It is no more, deceased, just like a certain dead parrot all those decades ago?

Yep, they say. No more. Gone.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The PR industry – and particularly those involved in media relations – have been through significant change, and not without pain if you were too stuck in your ways.

It’s actually evolved rather than become extinct.

PR professionals tell clients that it’s just not enough to ‘do’ social media, it has to work. Having 1,000 ‘Likes’ or tweeting drivel 10 times a day isn’t going to do anything for your cause if you’re not engaging people the people you need to, with key messages.

There are companies and organisations who tried the DIY approach to PR (and particularly social media) and bombed.

Reputation management begins in the board room and ends when you successfully hold the attention of the people that matter. Good reputation management is good PR. Social media and online engagement is part of that and actually make crisis management even more crucial because a poor response or anger venting on social media is self-destructive.

Having a good profile and visibility in the marketplace or community (depending on your organisational purpose) is both a science and an art. Brand visibility is not just a question of numbers; it takes craft (and sometimes guile) to achieve good positioning.

The quality of the message and targeting is key, so its alarming when people say social media and SEO are the domain of marketing managers or worse still, the IT team.

They couldn’t be further from the truth because good B2B social media relies on great content that engages with customers, potential customers, employees, communities, partner bodies, and others. It’s about creating networks of influence and gaining acknowledgement.

In this new world the media still exerts considerable influence. Admittedly ‘The Press’ sometimes has a short attention span and crave new stories every minute rather than every day, but we still tune in and listen, switch on and watch, and read (in our palm) the news of the day.

Good PR is about the content not necessarily the channel of communication. Press releases, Blogs, by-lined articles, webinars, tweets, and mouse clicks all depend on good content that’s well-presented and interesting.

It’s important to understand that an organisation's values make up a bigger portion of its brand strength than ever before, simply because of the way we communicate, the manner and the speed of that communication. We’re pretty quick at reacting these days…special offers, natural disasters, indecent behaviour, moral outrage, speculation and rumour mongering. We can do it all from our laptop on the train, our tablet in the coffee shop or our phone.

The work that PR people do in managing reputations is perhaps harder to understand and measure than when it was just about press releases and events.

But it’s not impossible to quantify, providing you do it through a range of measures, and don’t just slap a cash value on media coverage or 1,000 followers and likes.