Part 2b: Digital Media in Public Relations (Week 10)

Focus question: How have digital platforms changed PR strategies and how do they interact with non-digital platforms? Draw parallels in your post between the issues raised in your chosen week and at least one of the others.

David Pembroke suggested in the lecture that public relations ‘is the key to effectivecommunication’ through the ‘deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation or individual and its publics,’ (Pembroke, 2013). Considering the functionality and essence of the tasks presented to public relations consultants, accommodating to their clientele and target publics is essential. Henceforth within today’s contemporary society, utilising digital platforms, such as technologies and media, is in the immediate interest of PR representatives.

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Along with the forever advancing features of these various digital platforms, PR strategies have adopted and adapted the tools provided by this evolution. When these digital platforms are managed in real time, they allow for public relations processes more efficient and less costly, particularly through the ease of identifying statistics surrounding target publics through analysing engagement, shares and ultimately sales. The traditional methods of thinking and perspectives of this field have been manipulated, permitting public relations initiatives to be enabled by both non-digital and digital apparatus like never before.

 “The digital world has started to catch up and brands, and government agencies, and companies and all sorts of people are now understanding the fundamental truth that they are now in the publishing business,” (Pembroke, 2013). This includes the likes of social media channels (ie Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogs) and a vast range of other online resources (ie Youtube, Pinterest) that can be used to distribute a message, or other related content, to connect with an audience.

Within the aforementioned public relations strategies, there are techniques used to enhance the communication tactics employed. Some of the important characteristics that are considered are include shaping identities of clientele and also managing and maintaining this image (generally) in a positive way, through digital media platforms. This is a crucial element of public relations, as they are representing the clientele as a brand, which is ‘sold’ to target publics – thus appealing to specific communities of interest.

First identifying communities of interest (COIs), then appealing to and engaging with them is fundamental to the efficiency of public relations activity. By finding common characteristics of these prospective communities, in order to distinguish the most practical, imaginative and effective ways of relating PR stories to them. The key skills in identifying these COIs today through digital media include strengthening, “market research and analysis, which will enable the identification and characterization of COIs”; “leadership, communication and persuasiveness”; “networking technology, both in hardware and software”; “marketing to distributed and often virtual communities”; and “customer management,” (Ormerod, 1999).

Pembroke also implied in the lecture that “everyone is a publisher”, and that ‘the effect of digital media has been to make PR less reliant on journalism,’ (Pembroke, 2013), increasing the simplicity of selling PR stories to target publics. So, although public relations still engages with non-digital platforms, traditional formats like newspaper articles, digital platforms have equipped them to circulate and distribute information much quicker and easier. Through the application of digital platforms, public relations specialists are able to draw the attention of a much larger audience than ever before, especially with the accessibility of information online and through the media in real time.

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REFERENCE LIST

Ormerod, P. (1999, 09 1). Digital Communities of Interest. Retrieved 11 08, 2013, from Sage Publications: http://bir.sagepub.com.ezproxy1.canberra.edu.au/content/16/3/137.full.pdf+html

Pembroke, D. (Performer). (2013, 10 29). Digital Media in… PR. Canberra.

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