The shifting paradigm from traditional PR to digital PR.
Posted on 20th May 2016

digital-prWith the ever changing landscape of the online world another great industry has also risen side by side. The PR industry now gives serious competition to the advertising industry in every which way.

The rise of PR has been aided in no small part to the tremendous rise in connectivity through the internet. PR thrives on multiple means of contacting prospective customers through everyday activities and the internet has exponentially multiplied these opportunities. This has given rise to a new coinage ?€" Digital PR. Maybe one day in the distant future when print has died and everything is digital we will drop the word "digital" and just call it PR again.

Gone are the days when the efficacy of a PR campaign was measured in centimeters of print in the local newspapers. That quaint way of measuring a PR campaign although still used in some quarters has been overshadowed by the explosion in the number of PR channels and each one with its own yardstick.

Its a huge paradigm shift for the PR professional

A digital PR professional not only has to be great at networking but also up-to-date on latest technology happenings. You never know where the next medium might emerge. In the US online advertising has surpassed print newspaper advertising.

Avenues for Traditional PR included:

  • Newspapers / Advertorials
  • Special Events
  • Documentary Programmes on TV
Avenues for New Age Digital PR now include
  • Blogs
  • Social Media Platforms
  • Youtube Videos
  • Online News Sites
  • Podcasts
  • Online Seminars / Tutorials
  • And many more new ones emerging every day.

However the rules of PR haven?€?t changed, just the medium.

  • It is still important in digital PR for the customer to perceive the story without considering it advertising.
  • It is still important in digital PR to create a good impression in the mind of the viewer.
  • It is still important in digital PR to associate a positive aspect/ happening with the customers brand.
  • It is still important in digital PR to promote the brand in a non obvious way.

Digital PR is fast, very fast. It's faster than traditional PR channels.

This is especially true for bad PR. Just ask the companies that have been hammered by the social media storms. A company's reputation can be destroyed in the blink of an eye with a viral meme.

All this speed comes at the cost of control. In the early days PR professionals could control the exposure of a story. In the new age of digital PR you can easily lose control of a story as it can get usurped and hijacked at lightning speed or it can take on a life of its own and morph into something else altogether.

Digital PR also has to have a large preemptive component to it. The PR net has to be cast far and wide so that you already have the channels in place when it's time to do damage control or accelerate a particular initiative. A digital PR professional must, to use a popular phrase, build his bridges well in advance.

Digital PR is not for the faint hearted as you are playing with a lot of power at your finger tips and each misstep can be magnified and amplified many times over. But each success also results in never before publicity and returns virtually in the millions.

Cheers,
Ron

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