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The Evolution of PR
February 9, 2022
Over the last two years, Public Relations has been evolving as fast as the coronavirus. Publications have shrunk in size or eliminated the print version of their daily news outlet altogether. Reporters are being asked to cover more subjects in less time and digital has become king, although the jury’s still out on whether print will ever make a comeback or if this is the future of news. “Paid content”, combined with data analytics and targeting methods, means more material is available to the reader, eliminating many opportunities for a company to get an unbiased, earned piece of newsworthy content. While we’re all adapting to how news is absorbed and stakeholders are reached, the truth is, public relations is and will always have to evolve with the times.
Per the Public Relations Society of America, “At its core, public relations is about influencing, engaging and building a relationship with key stakeholders across numerous platforms in order to shape and frame the public perception of an organization.
So how does PR evolve to support companies in 2022? Here are three key components that are critical for a public relations strategy.
- Authenticity is key. Prior to embarking on a communications program, companies should define their corporate vision and values. Who are you? What do you stand for? Once a program has been rolled out, it then becomes the responsibility of the company to hold true to these values. The stakeholders in your company have evolved (community, investor, employee, customer) and they’re looking for brands that are committed to their purposes. If diversity and inclusion is a value, then internal initiatives should be established to help meet key D&I objectives. Without true authenticity, companies will struggle to survive in today’s business world.
- Stakeholder does not mean ‘investor’. The definition of stakeholder is anyone that has an interest in your business. Customers, employees, local communities, governments, investors, suppliers and vendors are all examples of those that may serve a purpose in your day-to-day company routine. Including all stakeholders in any company Public Relations strategy is critical, as they all serve a purpose in achieving your end goal. Exxon Mobil now has green activist investors on its Board of Directors, proof that companies have a responsibility to more groups that just investors.
- Public Relations is key to building trust. When you’re in the unpaid spotlight, companies and individuals can’t always choose the good or bad things written. However, learning how and what to communicate and to which outlets helps shape your messaging to audiences and shows real communication starts with top executives. Paid media screams, “look at me,” while earned media quietly tells the story of a brand without money behind it. A PR strategy should foster an environment of transparency and allow for open and honest relationships. In short, public relations provides the opportunity to grow and maintain a positive impact on stakeholders.