It’s been nearly 10 years since I set out in the world of B2B PR, over which time I’ve seen some pretty dramatic changes within the media relations environment and I can see it continuing well into 2015 and beyond.
Back in 2005, when I started out as an account executive, the main focus for our clients was to be published in hard copy trade publications, almost like the gold standard in all things PR. Sure, print publication had (and still has!) its place at the time and was closely regarded as a very credible way of gaining coverage. However, with the economy slump that followed closely thereafter, we had the (sometimes!) difficult task of persuading clients that online publication was much more beneficial to hard copy print. At this stage many publications had changed their editorial policies in order to generate increased financial support in order to keep printing but they also had to find novel ways to keep up with the ever more demanding environment where marketing budgets were being cut so every penny counted!
Personally, this is when I noticed a big shift to online marketing efforts to ensure increased ROI for the clients. Generating leads through online publication can be one of the easiest ways to effectively measure ROI, especially in this age of ‘every penny counts’ where it’s important to maximise every spend. In addition, the analysis that can be done from the metrics generated from online marketing efforts vastly outweighs the traditional method of print lead capture forms or reader forms, meaning that the client has up to the minute information available to make decisions in real-time.
Furthermore, with the arrival of social media and the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, these outlets have proven to be hugely beneficial for clients and consequently there has been a large rise in the number of clients needing integrated social media campaigns as part of their media relations program. They enable the clients to have access to, as well as to interact with, a larger audience that they perhaps would otherwise not have access to on a daily basis. However, to efficiently use social media, clients need to develop and manage comprehensive programs that are consistent and long term to drive engagement over a period of time, rather than a ‘one off’ tactic because the wrong kind of social media can equally have detrimental effects for the client!
Not only has the way in which we reach the audience changed, but also the way in which we reach the editorial teams has changed. There are still a few who prefer an email or phone call but more and more, the preference is to communicate with them via their alternative social media platforms, be it by a tweet, via their blog or Facebook message or on LinkedIn.
Moving forward, it’s hard to see how we’d evolve from this era of ‘online’ media relations but what I do know is that media relations campaigns have moved on from merely published editorial and as PR professionals, we are having to understand much more about how the audience is getting their information and even look at including other teams within the client, including their sales teams, in order to generate effective campaigns to make clients successful through integrated campaigns.
Written by Celine Goodier, Account Director