How technology is transforming PR
1st February 2018
New technologies, from the latest smartphones to ways of monitoring the media, make PR so much easier these days. Or do they? There is definitely a need to be geekier in PR, which doesn’t always sit well for those who are traditionally drawn to work in PR, such as the humanities graduate, or the person whose main talents lie in networking or coming up with creative campaign ideas. In today’s PR office, real-time customer and social media software, mean that having an instinct for communications may not be as important as understanding metrics.
Perhaps it would help if you are a robot. This would mean that not only are you more adept at analytical tasks, but that it is easier to be “always-on”. As Ian Burge, UK and Ireland communications lead at payments company Visa, says: “PR was never nine-to-five, but now the job is truly 24/7. It’s now possible to react to news in real-time, at any time, from anywhere. Advances in media monitoring mean you no longer wait until the next morning to read the news; it hits your inbox every few minutes.”
Another pressure on PROs is the greater demand for content from newspapers and magazines as they employ fewer reporters. The good news is that these opportunities allow PROs to shine, but as Burge points out, they also pile on a great deal of stress: “PROs are in a perpetual state of wondering where the next flashpoint is coming from. Social media have accelerated the news cycle; Twitter is a goldmine for journalists short of a story. A rogue social post, wherever it comes from, can fuel the front pages.”
Despite the need to do much more, in much less time, and to be comfortable with new technologies, there is no need to panic. After all, many of those working in PR today have grown up with tech, and are naturally able to withstand continuous change, as well as being happy to constantly check screens and react to new situations.
A human touch
As Nick Hadjinikos, director at agency Kallinos Communications, concludes: “The key is for PR professionals to become adept in the nuances and intricacies of this new kind of data and understand how it relates to their specific business goals. Although automation and digital intelligence is key, the human touch remains crucial. It’s not out with the old, in with the new. It’s about using the best of both to make sure you’re able to protect reputation, measure performance and promote your client/company in the most effective way possible.”
So in other words, no, you don’t have to be a robot to work in PR these days. But having an appreciation of what latest technolgies and automation can offer is definitely as asset. And just because our news environment is 24-hours, this does not mean you have to work every hour of the day too… remember to switch off, in order not to burn out (but make sure you are using a tool to monitor what you are missing!).
Written by Daney Parker+, Editor, PRmoment.com