Digital Transformation in The PR Industry Over The Years

Digital Transformation in The PR Industry Over The Years
Tanya Swetta, Co Founder and CEO - id8 media solutions
An opinion by Tanya Swetta, Co Founder and CEO - id8 media solutions.

2001 - the year I graduated from college in Mumbai, the education scenario for PR professionals was just emerging, this means that there really weren't many good institutions to choose from to pursue public relations. One of the best of these, the Xavier's Institute of Communications had newly introduced a “working peoples” PR course, which was scheduled all weekdays but only in the evenings- from 6 to 8pm.

Cut to 2022, aspiring PR professionals today have a plethora of options to choose from in terms of courses, institutions, both online and offline, working, part time and full time.

The PR industry globally has seen a phenomenal growth in terms of skills and business size. It was calculated that the global PR market was worth 88 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. By the end of 2025 the industry is expected to surpass a value of 129 billion dollars, at a CAGR of 7.4 percent (Sources: Statista).

It is very encouraging to see the growth of this sector, mainly due to the rise in demand for relevant, timely and accurate content that can be used as a tool of advocacy towards both internal and external stakeholders. PR has always been an extremely useful tool in creating awareness, but today, with the inundation of digital and social, the main value that PR brings to the table is the ability to create a bridge of trust between the consumer and the brand.

Its interesting and exciting to see how smart PR professionals and innovative PR companies have adopted digital and social media into their world and use these tools effectively to communicate with their target audience. Earlier, it was important to have an event to showcase the launch of a brand, product or service. today, a smart, effective and strategic public relations strategy can overcome this hurdle by using an integrated mix of online, offline and word of mouth campaigns to reach a large audience in a short period of time.

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The relationship and roles of a journalist and a PR professional too have blurred over the years, with journalists marketing their content and PR professionals doing the thinking hat of a journalist in order to effectively and intelligently communicate their message (press release) to the audience.

In the 2000’s up to 2010 - measurement of PR too tended to be a grey area. The most common method of measuring success was the size and positioning of the article in relationship to the category of media the article appeared in. Today, thanks to digital tools, PR can be measured as per circulation, readership, impressions, website traffic and share of voice, a much better and evolved way of measurement, and a method that every agency adopts as per their own internal strategies.

I would say that digital transformation has surely been a big boon to public relations, earlier, there was a need to manually do research and find the right journalist to pitch to, today, there are multiple platforms available that allow you to browse the category and find the journalist or set of journalists specific to the beat you are searching.

Public relations has come of age today, internal communications is a big part of what we do at id8 media solutions. Most companies need to have a professional agency communicate their values, culture, business plans, leadership and objectives to both internal and external stakeholders, this helps the company in many ways such as HR, government advocacy, positive reinforcement to key management and top level employees and much more. To see your company positioned in a good light is always a win!

The science of public relations has evolved a lot as well. Earlier, a simple pitch may have worked to be able to garner a good large story for your client. Today, if you are not pitch perfect, down to the research and the tonality, you can kiss a good story goodbye!

I have always been a huge fan of organic PR, this is even more challenging in todays day and age, with paid media being the trending and hot topic of this decade. An organic story has immense value, the customer reading this knows that the story is real, written by a respected journalist who has gone through the trouble of whetting the brand product or service before writing about it. This is invaluable.

Another aspect that has changed in PR is that today, when you release the news, you are not just releasing it to your own country, you are releasing it to the world in one shot! This has drastically changed the timelines that a traditional old PR set would adhere to, its extremely dynamic and very exciting to be able to strategize a global release, timing it to perfection to hit every country in the globe!

The biggest change that the public relations professional has seen, is the medium where the press release is going to be done. For example, in the earlier days, the only person your release was meant to influence was the journalist whom you were sending it to. Today, PR is about creating campaigns that can run across social, digital, print and television, so its very dynamic, detailed and extensive. this also makes it way more exciting! I cant wait to see what the next few years bring to the PR table.

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