Public relations has changed vastly in the last 20 years. PR today has several channels of communication, too many to list. With these new channels of communication also comes new opportunities of influence.
Thanks to these new channels, we are able to target both ‘niche’ and ‘mass’ markets. Conventional media is not dominant anymore, as Willcox states “‘A fast lane PR professional will understand the fundamental concepts behind search, be good at using lots of different online tools to identify audiences and influencers, identify relevant social media channels and focus on doing them well and be able to adjust their tone when speaking to social media authors rather than just treating in the same way as journalists.” (Willcox, 2011) Organisations are now desperate to find alternative potential influencers and these influencers will become a dominant player in the digital media landscape due to media fragmentation.
Our clients audiences are becoming increasingly media and tech savvy; Google is constantly producing new algorithms, which act as a governing body on the World Wide Web in order to enforce authority. This is precisely why it is now more important than ever to acquire channels of influence that already have established relations with the intended audiences. If the primary form of building trust (business themselves via product promotion) is unachievable or tough then we can use this secondary influential way to build trust between audience and product by using new channels to build relationships. In turn, that establishes a trusting relationship between audience and client, even though they’ve never had a ‘direct’ point of contact, it has come from the influencer. This might not be enough to generate customer loyalty, but it’s certainly an achievable starting point.
As PR practitioners, we decide upon the most relevant channels of influence, without fully realising that the consumers themselves, as a body, are perhaps the biggest stimulus of them all. As stated in PRstack useful tool to tackle both these issues is ‘Influential Blogs‘ – it’s an online database of influential bloggers in the UK. You type in a category relating to your company e.g. ‘health’ and you’ll receive a list of the most relevant blogs with the biggest reach.
People today are primarily concerned with listening to their influencers when it comes to engaging with new brands or organisations. “The more influential the journalist, blogger or social influencer you work with the more Google realises your client is an authority on the topic in your coverage.” (Stella Bayles 2015) So, targeting the influencers with the relevant influence channels itself is not a new concept, but looking at the metrics of influence is. PR practitioners are essentially the middle-man who connect organisations to the relevant influencers.
There are several ways we can measure influence, a few you should check out are Brandwatch, Social Authority and Klout. The one I want to cover today is Traackr. It not only allows you to use their own search engine to view your potential influencers’ online footprint, but also provides you with the ability to connect with them at the right time.
Ever heard of the expression “right person, wrong time”? Well, engaging with potential influencers is a little bit like that. As any PR practitioner will tell you, topical timing is vastly important in this industry. In order to do this, you need to listen to online conversations so that you can pitch your ideas to the relevant influencers at the right time. Traackr allows you to do this, however the downfall of Tracker is that although it’s certainly useful, it’s cost prohibitive for a lot of businesses.
We can create a more relatable experience for the consumer if we choose the correct channels of influence in the current digital media landscape. Creating sharable content allows us to create earned influence instead of targeting influence channels that aren’t useful or relative to our audience.
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Inkhouse (2013) The Re-imagining of PR Available from: Inkhouse.com/the-re-imagining-of-pr/ [Accessed on 07 January 2016].
Bayles, S., (2015) Public Relations’ Digital Resolution: A PR pro’s guide to a brighter future and bigger budgets. [Online]. [Accessed 03 November 2015].
Example: Royal College of Nursing (2009) Learning and Education. Available from: http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/learning [Accessed 22 December 2010].
Willcox, D., Behind the Spin (2011) PR – a two speed industry Available from: www.behindthespin.com/features/two-speed-industry [Accessed 06 December 2015].
PRstack (2015) influencer relations Accessed from: https//prstack.co/#/tools/influencer-relations/analytics [Accessed on 01 January 2016].
Traackr (2015) Features Available from: traackr.com/features [Accessed on 29 December 2015].