Is PR Still Relevant in 2016?


The web has fundamentally changed the way PR professionals do their jobs. It’s also made it tougher, given the increasingly loud voice of public opinion. Does that mean PR no longer has a place in marketing? Not at all! In fact, it’s made it more relevant than ever.

Traditional PR required companies to speak up whenever they wanted the public to know something about their people, products or services. Now, it requires them to not only amplify their messages, but also counteract negative feedback and proactively manage public sentiment.

Here are some of the most important reasons why PR is still relevant in 2016.

Competition Is Fierce

Traditional media offered limited space for a limited time, so it required a big name or a big budget to get publicity. You don’t need either anymore to take advantage of online channels. This means businesses of any size and type can generate good publicity — and take attention away from your business.

You can combat this with a robust PR strategy of your own. Instead of focusing on media contacts, though, talk directly to the public. Write press releases announcing new products or new senior leaders. Take photos and videos of special events hosted by your company or industry events you attend. The more often you post new content about your business, the more visible it becomes to both online users and search engines.

Criticism Can Be Fiercer

A business might suffer a negative story in traditional media, but in most cases, there was enough time to craft a messaging strategy to either mitigate the bad press or keep people informed of updates. That same story would go viral today and take on a life of its own before the company could even respond. Good feedback about your business can travel fast, but so can negative feedback. That’s where good PR can make a difference.

This is why your PR team needs to constantly monitor chatter about your company. Look for negative comments on social media or negative news stories in blogs and other media sites. The response is the same as it was in traditional media: Issue statements that address and help resolve the situation — but remember that it has to be done faster and more aggressively to match the speed of public opinion.

PR Belongs to Everyone, Not Just the PR Team

Public relations used to belong to the PR team. Publicists would write press releases, put a good face on the company and influence media coverage. Nowadays, any company employee with a social media profile can either be an asset or a liability to a business, so everyone in your organization must be aware of good PR practices.

Don’t just train your PR team on good public relations — train your entire staff. Coach leaders on how to talk to the press, particularly when addressing a sensitive issue. Give public-facing employees advice on what to say during trade shows, press conferences and other public events.

This may lead to a conversation about how employees conduct themselves online. Organizations that have social media policies must work very hard to protect workers’ rights while also protecting themselves from liability. However, you can achieve this balance — and avoid legal ramifications — by reminding employees about the kinds of posts and comments that could cause trouble.

As you can see, PR hasn’t lost its place in the marketing mix — it’s simply evolved to fit the digital landscape, like every other strategy you use to promote your business. The secret to good PR is understanding how the practice has changed and adapting your strategy to meet the demands of a fickle marketplace.

Posted in Agency news