Monday, August 19, 2013

The changing face of public relations

The general consensus is that public relations services include the standard offerings of drafting media releases, dealing with the media, strategy and general client management; with the aim of building mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and the public.
However, with the fast growing digital environment and budget constraints, we're moving into an era where clients prefer having all their marketing and PR needs met under one roof. 

It is more convenient (operationally and financially) to pay a single service provider to manage all aspects of a company's PR strategy - traditional and online activity and marketing - than paying multiple agencies. Not only does this save them money but it saves today's most scarce commodity: time. 

Many PR agencies have latched onto this trend by expanding their service offering with an equal balance of traditional and online PR, in order to give the best service and retain their clients.

As PR agencies, we should strive to bring these services under one roof, if we want to become indispensable to our existing and future clients.

How to do this:

    1. Assess your current service offering

    This should be fairly easy to do. It will allow you to compare the current status of your service offerings and actual capabilities. Your website and corporate profile should summarise the bulk of your offerings - it is after all the virtual front door of your business.

    2. Assess your existing client business needs and do a gap analysis

    You should have this information at hand as your PR strategy should be aligned to your clients' business objectives! If you don't, a good place to start would be a strategic workshop with your client to assess the current and future goals of their business, and the services they would need to help reach it.

Your findings should help to highlight any areas that may be lacking. For example, if you are a traditional PR agency and your client wants to expand in the social media realm, this should be an indication that you should either:

  • Hire a digital strategy resource internally and train your existing staff (it's pointless retaining this skill with one individual, spread the love). 
  • Take on the digital strategy and outsource the project to an external provider (this is not always recommended as it could end up being costly and there's nothing stopping your client from searching for greener pastures - a traditional agency with digital experience.

Once you've identified the gaps, you can now decide on steps to take to secure your company as the main client service provider with the necessary offerings.

    3. Look at current and future trends

    It's always good to keep ahead of trends. This allows you to guide your clients effectively and prepare yourself, staff members and clients to take advantage of being ahead of the curve. Read about what local and international agencies are doing, network as much as you possibly can, send staff members on training and RESEARCH.

These are but a few steps to take to ensure that you keep ahead of your client needs. Adjusting may not be easy but it will be well worth it in the long run. Times are tough and when the tough gets going, the going gets digital!