In the 1940s, there was no distinction about digital public relations or traditional public relations agencies. They were merely public relations agencies and the digital world was just beginning to shape up. With time, some agencies took up the available opportunities that were presented by digital environment to establish fully fledged agencies responsible for public relations and hence others which never embraced the available opportunity became traditional agencies (Lister, 2018). As a result, a number of agencies came into force so that they could meet the demands of the digital market. However, it is imperative to understand that both kinds of Public relations do share the same aim which is to enhance the reputation of the client and make the audience aware of the message being delivered. With the advance in technology where there are online platforms, there are many difference between public relations in the 1940s and that happening today (Nancy, 2018). This essay seeks to present these differences and also to show how social media and the internet in general has impacted on public relations.
Main Differences between PR in the past and that of the present
The focus of public relations in the past was offline visibility that entailed the production of press releases majorly for print media. The process of making use of press conferences as well as events mostly played a major part too. The traditional public relations agencies did convey information to a larger and wide audience without even getting adequate feedback. This is because the communication was mostly one way (Scott, 2015). A look into the press releases establishes that while formulating them, a traditional PR agency would interview relevant stakeholders and then collect information concerning the topic that they had chosen. This would then be a case of writing up the information within some text in some way that would make up some appealing information to journalists. The key message to clients would then be covered in the release and also in any promotional information.
In relation to background information or even data there is actually no data in the traditional public relations. The client for the public relations would have identified key publications that had readerships which contained the target audience of the client and traditional executives may also have some insight of the readership figures (Springston, 2004). However, there is close to little work to work with. Further, traditional public relations were limited to some given format and style of content and they would also cast some wide net with the issue of distribution. Further, a traditional public relations agency pitch entailed selling within the press and also over the phone, at lunch time or even by use of email. A press release has to be written well so that it is able to stand out from many other releases, however, there is very little maneuver for the act of creativity or for opportunity of engagement for the audience that is intended (Nancy, 2018). Further, it is actually hard to establish who is being reached by the press release and also whether the press release has made some difference to the bottom line of the client and has had an impact on sales. It is actually hard to quantify. A press release may have been produced in some desired publication but it is really hard to know the people who have actually read it or acted upon it.
As for the public relations of the present, what is otherwise called digital public relations, the focus is having online presence. This mainly means working with Google and also other search engines to make sure that the website of client ranks greatly within the online search engines (Nancy, 2018). This entails the generation of high quality links back to the website of a client from each digital content and also optimizing the website alone. If this activity is done in tandem, it will most likely increase the online visibility of a brand or it will easily help in propagating a particular message. In order to ensure that this activity succeeds, proper understanding as well as capability of technical SEO are important and these are skills that just digital agencies may provide. The use of data expertise to help in content creation, identification of influencers within the marketplace, and in securing high traffic metric placements and to make sure that a given citation just helps in raising the awareness of the given brand and in the end increase the visibility of a client. It is in the online platforms where people are consuming information.
Impact of the Internet, Social Media and news agencies on public relations
The internet offers practitioners within public relations some advantage in the collection of information, monitoring of public opinion on matters and also to take part in direct conversation with the general public concerning a range of matters (Nancy, 2018). Over the past ten years, the field of public relations has gone through many changes. Many aspects of technology and also advancements in communication have eventually led to this but social media has had the largest impact. Social media has changed the way that people now communicate and also when they communicate, the place they communicate from and who they are able to communicate with.
Social media has encouraged public relations clients to focus on customers. Majority of brands are now focusing on their customers more and hence enhancing their relationship with them which turns into sales in the end (Nancy, 2018). This ends up forcing companies to resolve any matters arising in a speedily manner so that they would avoid any public relations crisis. Further, companies may also make use of interactions on social media to help in improving their business in general and more so where there are complaints. Secondly, social media has created a 24/7 news cycle which has its advantages and disadvantages. As an advantage, brands are able to deliver the best news at any given time and they know for sure that somebody is listening to them and even ready to respond to them. Further, social media is able to provide the right opportunity for play-by-play updates as one way of managing the crisis plan whenever things do not go on as was planned (Scott, 2015). However, the 24 hour presence becomes a menace when bad news is propagated through social media platforms which eventually creates a public relations crisis that is hard for the company or client to recover from.
The internet and social media have made public relations affordable for small businesses. Traditionally, public relations forms as well as specialists did work together with politicians and also large corporates which had the money so that they would help in managing their brands and also in times of managing communication crisis (Scott, 2015). With the advent of social media and the internet, small businesses are able to afford hiring a student who has knowledge in communications, public relations or even journalism to help in managing their online presence. This has the effect of making public relations affordable to small businesses which may be requiring it and who may not afford to hire professional knowledge or assistance.
Factors influencing the effectiveness of P.R. campaigns today
A public relations campaign entails a series of activities which are planned beforehand and are specific to a given goal. In order for such campaigns to be effective, they have to have a proper objective, the right message, curtailed to a specific audience and operate within the right budget (Lister, 2018). Having a good public relations campaign will have to incorporate the best objective. This would entail raising an awareness of a given product or brand. The next thing concerns the message which has to be clear for the intended audience and not confusing in any way. The other issue on target is that the campaign should not target the whole population but just a specific population.
There is a clear difference between public relations in the 1940s and that which is there today. Firstly, the way that the message was curtailed in the past is clearly varied from the way that they are made in the present age. Further, social media and the internet have had impactful influences on the way that public relations is being delivered to the general public or the intended audiences.
Lister, J. (2018). Three Characteristics of Public Relations Campaign. Retrieved from chron.com: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/three-characteristics-public-relations-campaign-24956.html
Nancy, L. (2018). 5 Ways Social Media has Changed Public Relations. Retrieved from www.5wpr.com: http://www.5wpr.com/new/social-media-public-relations/
Scott, D. (2015). Marketing and Public Relations Then and Now. Retrieved from webinknow.com: https://www.webinknow.com/marketing-and-public-relations-then-and-now
Springston, J. (2004). Public relations and new media technology: The impact of the Internet. Retrieved from www.researchgate.net: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301783417_Public_relations_and_new_media_technology_The_impact_of_the_Internet