Opinion

PR is no longer just about media

In 2019, PR will finally grow beyond its media-centric boundaries and beyond, writes PR consultant Katie Clift.

2019 will be a defining moment for public relations worldwide. The start of the new year will signal a new era where PR will come into its own, and finally define itself as an industry based on far more than just media relations.

Yes, you read right. In the past, PR has been seen and practiced as purely media relations, including drafting press releases, pitching stories to the media, securing coverage and maximising an organisation’s reach across as many media platforms as possible: online, TV, radio, print, magazines, podcasts, you name it.

Public relations is defined as an organisation’s relationship with their ‘publics’ – the audiences that make up the public, as a whole. The PR industry won’t continue to be solely a media-facing and media-serving industry. Public relations will be about the broad strategy of engaging and communicating across all of an organisation’s relevant publics.

This means PR strategies will be about more than just writing stories for journalists and building media coverage. They will harness communications that specifically target all of an organisation’s publics, from business to consumers, customers, media, communities, governments, social media followers, competitors, and everyone in-between.

The swift increase of the fourth industrial revolution, the rise of technologies and the speed of global progress means we can’t afford as PRs to simply focus on media as the sole strategic channel to build our reputations with the public. Not all our publics will consume traditional or social media. People now expect (and rightly so) for messages and content to be tailored specifically to their individual needs across a variety of touch points and channels.

The awareness of our companies, messages and services will reach far beyond a TV story or online feature. By taking a hold of diverse communications and tailored content we will relate even stronger to our target audiences in different ways. It won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach – we will need to become clever about the way we position our brands on every platform, for every type of public.

The same strategies we use to get the media’s attention will be used to get attention from other businesses, competitors, followers, communities and customers. We will be writing, pitching and publishing unique content that cuts through to deliver strategic communications and build a strong reputation with every public that we define as relevant.

As our media, marketing, communications and technology sectors rapidly develop in 2019, so too will our need to be flexible, adaptable and ahead of the game when it comes to PR and communicating with our publics. This isn’t sales or marketing conversions with customers. This is about ensuring our reputation and communication with the world are readily available to all, seen by all, understood by all, and well-received by all, not just the media.

Get ready for 2019. We’ll be writing, pitching and positioning for the world, not just journalists.

Katie Clift is director of Katie Clift Consulting Pty Ltd

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