Welcome to the Age of New Media. Gone are the days when we had select few print publications, a handful of TV Channels and a fixed style of news reporting. The advent of the Digital Age has bought in an exhaustive list of new media thereby expanding the scope of coverage and opportunities.
Traditionally, media companies presented factual, unbiased reporting to their readers or viewers in order to provide them information. Today anyone with a smartphone or a tablet can create and share news or information to reach masses through various social media platforms.
However, this doesn’t mean that journalism is dead. With a shift in demographics like higher disposable incomes and the need to be well-informed, the new age media has the onerous task of living up to it. The new age millennial has a shorter attention span, and they are always on the hunt for compelling and gripping stories and content. Hence, new age journalism is all about reaching a larger audience in a shorter period time with exciting content.
Role of a Journalist or a PR professional in the age of new media:
Journalism today is no more about just writing and speaking. New age journalists rely both on verbal and visual communication skills and keep themselves updated with various forms of social media to tell their stories. Often, they are needed to take photographs or shoot videos, design the layout for the website or promote their message through social media. The traditional media houses are catching up fast and are exploiting the new media to expand their reach. PR professionals need to be creative and sharpen their pitching skills.
The media today needs a PR person more than before. Journalists are constantly on the lookout for new stories and information, and they pick up interesting stories from the social media feeds! PR firms need to be on the alert for such opportunities for their clients. The ordinary pitch isn’t going to work much longer. A creative pitch which is short, crisp, and accompanied by videos and infographics might be preferred.
Influence of Social media:
With the changing times, media has evolved too. As everyone is glued on to his or her smartphones today, the source of breaking news is no more the Newspaper or TV, but the various social media handles that one owns. Journalists share their personal opinion or a story more openly on social media than via traditional medium. Therefore, there is less fact-checking involved here as there is a constant need to upload new information before it gets published (by someone else) and becomes stale. No wonder for publications the order of the day is “Publish first and then correct if necessary.” Twitter is considered as a “news network” as it is the social media platform where generally news breaks first.
Social media has influenced public relation practitioners too, and the industry has seen some dramatic changes as well as new opportunities for communicating with clients and businesses. As journalists are more active on social media and pick stories from these mediums, therefore PR people should be active on these mediums too and portray and post newsworthy content on behalf of their clients in such a way that it is of interest to the media.
It is important to grasp these new channels of communication so that we can effectively use them as a means to communicate with the public and to see how it affects the PR practice. The journalism and PR programs in colleges need to implement these changes in the course curriculum to equip future practitioners with the knowledge and skills required to handle these media.
You might have come across the term Thought Leader in big events, the media, newspapers or websites. But Who is a Thought Leader? What does he do? You’ve probably heard people saying Bill Gates is a Thought Leader or Steve Jobs is a Thought Leader. Does that mean you have to build a multi-billion dollar organisation to become one?
Well, not exactly. Although, that is one way to go about it.
Who is a Thought Leader? What does a Thought Leader Do?
A Thought Leader is a reliable, informed Opinion Leader and a go-to person in his/her field of expertise or domain. He/She is a trusted source of information and guidance, who moves and inspires people with innovative ideas, turns ideas into reality. He/She works, not just for the benefit of his organisation, but for the betterment of the domain and the entire eco-system. They address and solve some of the biggest problems faced by the eco-system.
Thought Leaders can be an individual, a group or an organisation.
Are You a Thought Leader?
Well, it’s a simple checklist.
- Are you making a difference to the community/ecosystem?
- Do you have revolutionary/break-through ideas?
- Do startups, business owners, media or people at large, seek your guidance/consultation in a particular field?
- Are you called upon to solve large problems?
- Do you inspire people/organisations to make a difference to the community/ecosystem?
If you have a few of these checked, chances are, you’re a Thought Leader.
What is Thought Leadership Marketing?
Thought Leadership Marketing is the craft of positioning yourself or your organization as a constant source of guidance, innovation, and compelling, reliable content, thereby attaining the status of a Thought Leader.
How to Become a Thought Leader?
A word of caution, this does not happen overnight. It is a long, persistent effort. But the journey is always rewarding for you and the organisation. One sure way is through Thought Leadership Marketing. Your company can be viewed in the same way by creating content that resonates with your customers and members of your industry.
One sure way is through Thought Leadership Marketing. There are 5 aspects to it.
- Great Branding – How you position yourself/your organisation is paramount
- Content Marketing – forms the base of all the other activities
- Public Relations – Because a media person is vouching for your idea
- Social Media – A potent one-to-many platform
- Events – An effective method of connecting with people and gaining trust and credibility
Great Branding (Personal or Company)-
How you position your organisation is everything. It addresses your brand’s mission, it’s goals, it’s domain, it’s target audience and it’s USP. This is the first thing that needs to be done as it sets hygiene in place and it becomes the foundation for all the other activities. People need to know who they are dealing with and what they believe in.
They say ‘Content is King’. I know, I know. It’s cliched. But it never gets old because it’s true. Your content drivers all your other activities. What people seek from you is information, consistently. There’s not getting around that. It is one of the most effective ways to convey your value proposition, your contributions, and your mission.
People underestimate the value of public relations. It is Earned Media and it demands reverence. A journalist’s credibility is on the line when they write something, and they have a huge expectation from the publication and their readers to give them credible, compelling information. Getting covered in the right publication could be one of the most valuable additions in your Thought Leadership Marketing Campaign.
Social Media is an affordable platform to reach a vast majority of your target audience (depending on your domain). It is probably the easiest way to get your message across the masses. It goes without saying that the social media posts need to be interesting. Quora, Reddit, and some other forums go a long way in establishing your value. (We advise a word of caution when using social media because you are accountable for what you say.)
Nothing beats meeting your peers, followers face to face. It establishes a connect unlike any other. Finding a speaking slot at relevant events and delivering a meaningful, relevant speech can be extremely effective in certifying your domain expertise. When you deliver one good speech, people tend to invite you for more speaking slots.
But remember, with great power comes great responsibility. It is a thought leaders duty to work towards the betterment of the domain and the eco-system.
If you found this blog useful, we would love to have a conversation with you and hear about it. If I have missed out something, please feel free to write it in the comments section.
How to practice Public Relations, an effective Influencer Marketing tool
Wikipedia defines Public Relations as ‘The practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organisation and the public’.
Simply put, PR is getting media to write stories or articles about your company, products and services on a positive note so that your prospects get to know about it. These stories or articles are not paid for.
The stories get written when the reporters get to know you and your company and see the value your products and services can provide to their readers. A good reporter will also research on his own, to ensure that their readers get authentic information.
PR is an effective influencer marketing tool for quite a few reasons:
Newspaper reading is habit forming. Most people tend to stick to a certain publication. They form their preferences for reporters and feel that if the reporter is writing about your company, you must be doing something worthwhile. Media and reporters rank highly as Influencers. It is the credibility of the publication and the reporter which makes the article authentic.
PR has high credibility – Tweet that.
PR has a greater shelf life – longevity. An article gets shared and referred to if it strikes a chord in the reader.
PR has a wide reach – Sometimes, your story which appeared in a local publication might get picked up by a trade publication or national media and get wide visibility.
PR is almost free – The cost incurred is for the resources. It is the manpower and time dedicated to researching the right kind of publications and getting to know the reporters of those publications. An investment made also to create content to be shared with them.
There are also spends – for hiring a good PR consultant, to create ‘news-worthy’ stories, press releases dissemination, to meet and greet media etc.
PR is also called Earned media. It helps establish you and your company as subject matter experts. It helps create awareness among prospective customers who read about your company in media.
How can a start-up or an SME practice Public Relations?
Great PR requires creativity, careful planning & persistent effort – Tweet that.
You don’t need to be a large corporation to invest in Public Relations. Even a start-up or an SME can practice PR by following the steps listed below:
A simple approach to practice PR:
- Get a good understanding of the publications and reporters that write about your industry.
- Read the articles/stories written by the reporter you are pursuing. If you like his stories, let him know by either writing a mail or commenting online about it. Follow him/her on social media. Share the article with your prospective customers if relevant.
- If you have a good idea for an article, create a short but concise note on the idea and reach out to a reporter. There is a possibility that your story idea will be turned down. Try to find out the reason and improve your pitch for the next idea. You may succeed eventually and the same reporter might end up treating you as a source of reliable information on an ongoing basis.
- Most reporters work against a tight timeline. If and when the reporter reaches out to you for a story or a quote, be sensitive to timelines. If, for some reason you are unable to provide the information, keep the reporter informed in advance.
- Be persistent without being a pest. Understand what’s the right time to call the reporter. Know his pressures and be of help.
- Remember to thank a reporter when he writes about you or your company. Share the article on your social platforms. Share it with every stakeholder to ensure it reaches everyone that matters.
PR can be more effective then advertising. PR is an effort intensive but high return marketing tool.
We provide PR as a service or provide consulting service to ensure quick and definite results!
I remember how we childishly used to refer to any excessively friendly person as a PRO (Public Relations Officer). This was common practice years ago while I was a young professional in a public sector. It was never said as a compliment.
PR is an essential tool to succeed in the highly competitive business arena for both individuals and organisations. Public relations is not an option anymore.
PR is an essential tool to succeed in the highly competitive business arena – Tweet that
In the eighties, a modest person was not expected to brag about oneself. If the compliment (for the great work done) came from a third party, to graciously accept was the norm. Things have changed. A savvy person today ensures that he or she gets all the credit he or she deserves in the workplace. They even ensure that they receive recommendations and compliments on a social platform, so it reaches their network! It is seen as personal branding or reputation management – however, reputation needs to be built and managed carefully, with a well thought through plan.
Aren’t we all familiar with the maladies of the review mechanism adopted by online platforms? While good reviews are accepted as a norm and flaunted, a client who shares a bad review gets managed! The back office of a business swings into action and tries to identify the issue faced by the client and addresses it. It is always a demanding client who helps us improve our products or services! Read more about Earned Media here
Social media provides each one of us with a powerful platform to showcase our subject matter expertise. While people in the business of fashion, artists, writers & media use Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, professionals and business owners adopt LinkedIn & Twitter. YouTube is a very powerful platform to share videos.
Do you want to create visibility of your technical /business expertise, management abilities, coaching skills or your leadership? If so, having a focussed plan helps achieve good results. Start by putting together a calendar of activities and start implementing it. In any case, you need to establish awareness among prospective clients.
- Create key messages: What are the 2 or 3 key messages that will establish your credibility or expertise in your domain? Craft them carefully and be sure they are true.
- Target audiences: Know precisely who you want to communicate these messages to. The better your understanding of your target audiences, better it is to create communication material for them.
- Identify topics you are passionate about and love to speak on: Identify 2 or 3 topics that you are a domain expert in and create your content around those. We often make the mistake of throwing in facts and figures that are easily available on the net. Instead, speak from your experience; this will be unique.
Don’t use publicly available data points in your speech, speak from experience!– Tweet that
- Look for speaking opportunities: Start small. Look for speaking opportunities in local business communities, clubs, management colleges etc. Seek feedback from your audience and keep improving your delivery. Once you are confident about your delivery, start recording (video) and share them online.
- Start writing blogs & articles: Start a blog either stand-alone or on your company website. Share your posts on the social platforms you frequent. If your experience shines through, sooner or later, digital media or local publications will approach you for content. They are always in need of experts who can provide insight.
It takes time and effort to establish credibility and a personal brand. The above approach will work for both – an individual or for the leadership of a company.
Public Relations for individuals is a subject we understand very well. Call us or mail us for more information on how we can help today.
Ways to ensure PR gets the results you deserve
Are you a PR professional who has to show results on your Public Relations efforts? Are you struggling to answer ‘How long will it take for PR to show results?’
Are you tired of explaining how media works, what it takes to reach out to journalists, the cost of PR etc.?
Well, You are in the right place! This blog aims to answer precisely these questions.
I can almost hear you thinking, but, my sales head will ask me ‘How many sales can you assure me? What are the returns from the PR spend?’…
Allow me to quote Bill Gates, “If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on PR” – Tweet that
If certain best practices are followed, your release might land on the right desk. If you’ve taken the effort to be persistent in your reach-out, the editor of a mainline might meet your spokesperson for a no-obligation interview! And Voila! Your company is covered in the most circulated newspaper or magazine!
While I can’t tell you how long it will take, or the exact number of conversions PR will get you, what I do know is following some of the steps listed below will take you a notch closer to the result you seek.
1.Build your relations with key media
This means making a list of media and the reporters and reaching out to them. Carry out repeated interactions, share content on a regular basis with them and help them understand your domain. Once they realise that you are a domain expert or that you’re showing early success, they will write about your company (and you) in their article or industry story.
2.Patience and perseverance
It may not be easy to get covered in the biggest mainline, you may not be that popular yet; sometimes just a mention might work well for you. Till then keep writing content and publish it on your blog, in a trade publication. Keep pushing your spokespeople to speak in events. This effort will pay-off by creating thought leadership!
3.Set Clear Goals
Is your target the number of mentions you get or you will get the much-needed visibility if you get written about in the well-read trade publication? Set a goal and pursue it.
4.Build relations with media people
Follow the journalists on the social platforms and get to know their style; comment and communicate with them regularly.
5.Cast your net of influence
Some of us not good writers, but we are quite sharp & witty, or good with a particular sport, or have a passion for a superbike. Take to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, a Leader is also looked up to for his social skills and lifestyle – a well-rounded personality.
6.Listen to your Customer
Meet your customers regularly, get to know if someone is willing to recommend your product or service to his local business community. Or is she willing to speak at the event where other business owners gather?
PR does work, in fact, it works wonderfully well. – Tweet that
Most times, it is more effective than advertisements (read more- Advertising v/s Public Relations) – because an Influencer (media person) with credibility is writing about your product or service either by experiencing the product or by researching well about it. There is an authenticity to PR which gets past all the noise from advertisements.