Digital Disruption: How Technology is Changing the PR Industry
By Sabrina Devereaux
Technology drives constant change and innovation for all industries, but how is the PR industry adapting to new services and platforms that are drastically reshaping industry practices?
Media Monitoring Software
Being able to semi-automate some of the most time consuming (and painstakingly tedious) aspects of media relations has revolutionised the PR industry, making for more efficient and effective campaign strategies.
Media monitoring software can be an incredibly diverse tool, depending on the platform being utilized (and there’s tons to choose from). One of the most important aspects of media monitoring software is providing current, up-to-date information on reporters and publications. Having updated media information is half the battle. Reporters, editors, and publishers move fast: beats change, trending topics replace each other constantly, publications get delayed or cancelled indefinitely. With change being the only constant when it comes to media and publishing, it’s no surprise that most PR firms utilize media monitoring software to help stay ahead of the game.
Media monitoring software can assist with every step of the outreach process from building media lists; providing reporter contact information and recent coverage; sending pitches and press releases; and alerting you of client mentions in the news, on social media, radio/podcast shows, and much more. Having more data available to your PR team leads to better insights and increasingly optimized campaigns.
Blurring the lines between earned, owned and paid media, and personal vs. professional profiles, social media has drastically changed the way brands communicate their messaging in more ways than one.
Firstly, response time is a critical element to any comment, question, or critique. Social media has eliminated any downtime for companies to communicate their positioning to consumers. PR teams are faced with the immense challenge of posting an immediate response, while potentially facing brand crumbling retribution if their quickly crafted message holds any discrepancies. How long is too long to relay your messaging? According to one Twitter hacking scandal last week — an hour.
On July 15th, multiple high profile celebrity accounts were hacked on Twitter. Although the social media giant shared real-time updates as they took extensive measures to regain control over the hacked accounts, Twitter was still scolded for not acting fast enough. The Verge’s Nick Statt stated ‘The platform took over an hour to issue a response, which feels much longer when weighed against the lightning speed of social media chatter.’”
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Many C-Suite executives have their personal profiles, in addition to their company platforms, managed by a team of ever vigilant, tech savvy, trend following account executives. This may not be surprising or unusual for a professional platform like LinkedIn, but Twitter accounts are becoming increasingly crucial for business professionals to have an active presence on. PR teams are managing everything from sending personal follow requests that build professional networks, to retweeting, commenting, and monitoring post activity, all to ensure that company representatives present a unified front.
Many PR professionals also utilize Twitter to secure media coverage. Pitching and sending press releases directly to reporters on the platform is so normalized that many databases with reporter contact information includes twitter handles. This alone makes social media management a mandatory component for most PR strategies.
Despite how you feel about technological advances, it’s clear the industry is changing and adapting with them. Having clients and reporters with more communication channels than ever before, and the scope of PR widening to much more than contributed articles and press releases, it’s clear that adopting technology into your PR practice is crucial to staying in touch with your audience and keeping up with the industry as a whole. It’s difficult to navigate an ever-evolving industry — does your PR plan need a refresh? Reach out to us!