The success of any organization’s communication depends on how far it can reach out to the people with its messages and the depth of impact that it has been able to make. Traditionally companies have been resorting to newspapers, televisions, radio and other non-interactive (one way) broadcast media for communication. But as the avenues to reach out to more prospects have opened in the form of web technology, companies have created their websites as their digital space presence. Last few years have seen dramatic innovations in web technology. With the advent of interactive media and universal acceptance of social web applications, it has become imperative for companies to create and maintain their presence in this space to be talked about.
The new-generation public resorts to the popular technique of reading blog sites, viewing news on the video sharing sites like YouTube at their own chosen time, posting their reviews on anything and everything they feel is important and sharing it on their social network. To execute successful Public Relation (PR) campaigns, PR team need to keep all these elements in mind. REMEMBER: The technology we are talking about – is very disruptive and new changes are taking place as you read this article. Now the question is what sets the Digital Public Relation different from the Traditional. The 3 significant differences between the Traditional PR and Digital PR are:
- Media: Unlike the traditional format, Digital PR allows companies and businesses to disseminate information without relying solely on mainstream publications and communicate directly with the public, customers, prospects and influencers.
- Conversation: ‘Conversation’ has become the new ‘Earned Media’. The new digital technologies activate discussions and amplify our advocates whether they are more ‘Traditional Influencers’ or ‘Technology Bloggers Online’. Digital PR helps to seed online conversations as well as enables businesses to engage in these conversations and participate to build word of mouth online and offline (Refer to diagram 2.2). Claiming ignorance is no longer an option as the information is readily available 24 hours a day, begging and pleading for your attention. And if you are not going to give it your attention, your competitors are and they are going to turn your unhappy customers into their happy customers or prospects into their customers.
- Influencer: As search engines are transforming the way we find information in the digital realm, the emergence of Blogs, Wikis, RSS Aggregators and Social Networks has put the spotlight on new patterns of influence – the ‘Creators’. These are the people who create content around you, your offerings or your industry. To reach out to them you need to have some really awesome content/ideas to share. At the same time there are other important influencers called as the ‘Gatekeepers’ or the ‘Sharers’; these are people who find content published by you, seed it and push it out to their own networks. They have large followers and are known to share quality stuff.
It is quintessential for the companies to create and maintain their presence in this space not only because the public resorts to these techniques but also because these techniques possess characteristics that make social web interesting and capture the minds of public. Some of these characteristics are –
- Content-User Generated
The first C, Content, refers to the idea that social media tools allow everyone to become a Creator, by making publishing and distribution of multimedia content both free and easy, even for amateurs. It has empowered us to be the creator of content and share our opinions, ideas and experience with others.
Just because everyone can become a creator doesn’t mean that everyone does. Most of us find it easier to respond to a post/photo/ video and connect with each other to build conversations around it.
As consumers engage with compelling content, the content becomes the center of conversations. Conversations create buzz, which is how ideas tip and become viral. Many social media practitioners who are from a marketing or public relations background are focused on creating conversations. However, some of us recognize that conversations are a mere stepping stone for co-creation. Wikis are a perfect example of co-creation. Open group blogs, photo pools, video collages and similar projects are also good examples of co-creation.
Normally you can build community around a strong brand or if you can derive a very strong social object around lifestyle, cause or passion. Current social media websites offer you many ways to create your own community and lead the conversation(s) easily. Facebook has the fan pages, LinkedIn has Groups, Q&A and Twitter offers a more abstract way through @replies.
- Collective Intelligence
Different companies based on its industry, product and services would like to create different levels of engagement using Digital PR. Some will stop at having conversation with the target audience where as some will go an extra mile to not only build communities around a social object (‘Lifestyle’, ‘Cause’ or ‘Passion’) but will also observe their behavior, ask for their ideas, recognize and reward them for their contribution.
These computer-based technologies can potentially provide highly cost-effective methods for not only tracking news media coverage and correlated public opinion indicators, but also help in assessing media agenda setting and news media framing.
Originally published in internal newsletter of Birlasoft