People have been sounding the death knell for PR for too long says Kantar Media’s Walter Patanella

People have been sounding the death knell for PR for too long. Whilst day-to-day tasks may have changed, PR is still important and key to effective marketing – and here’s why it will stay that way.

Constant change

Digital media disrupted the communications industry, and at first PR and marketing professionals were like bubbles in a fizzy drink – scrambling around, each looking for ownership of the space.

Fast forward to 2015 and these “bubbles” have combined to share skills and knowledge. Nowadays you find PR teams being drafted in early to help marketing colleagues take press release content and create a story through infographics, or the marketing team drawing on PR colleagues’ experience to build the perfect content story for an Adwords campaign.

This collaboration has resulted in upskilling, more variety of work and new leaders being created in the PR industry, all of which is building to a stronger future for the industry and PR professionals.

A (budget-) winning performance

But it’s not just about being able to tell the story. PR professionals have much more data at their fingertips than ever before, and they need to use it both to tell the story – creating hyper-targeted, tailored campaigns that really speak to people – and to measure the value of those campaigns.

Data-led campaigns are rooted in clear metrics, rather than vague promises of “awareness” or “buzz“. These metrics can be tied back to business results, shifting from “Smart” data to “Impact” data, or in other words from insights to action. Never before have PR professionals had such an opportunity to prove their success … or argue their case for increased investment.

Rethinking relationships

As experts in generating quality content and understanding audience requirements, PROs can create online content that tells a compelling story and has more impact on SEO than ad keywords alone. They can also use their press relationships to secure stories on reputable news sites. These have greater domain authority, and help not only to generate quality inbound links, but also to boost a brand’s profile.  

Consumers love purpose: 91% would switch to a brand that supported a good cause over one that didn’t. The opportunity here for PROs is to use their relationship-building skills to find fresh and relevant ways to engage audiences in an immersive, emotive, personal brand experience that’s both purposeful and authentic.  

Automate to create

Finding the time to form a cutting-edge campaign can be a challenge. As technology advances, PROs can leverage the tools available to automate the more repetitive and mundane aspects of their jobs.

  • A media contact tool allows you to search for topics of interest and assemble media lists, saving hours of manually searching for the right contacts. Use an email tracking service to monitor your replies and gather data on how many opens and clicks your email has had.  
  • Look to automate reporting, using a tool that automatically generates infographics from existing data. Not only will this save time compiling reports, it will also allow you to present results in a more appealing, easily understandable way.
  • Set up tailored alerts to monitor your social media accounts. Go a step further by incorporating a service that allows you to schedule your posts in advance – liberating you from time-specific updates.  

Invest your new-found time into more creative tasks and, with space to think, find new ways to surprise your clients with unconventional PR plans. This is what will help ensure that PR is a vital, effective part of brand communications for many years to come.

Written by Walter Patanella, CEO,  Kantar Media’Intelligence.

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