Social channels and new technology have placed considerable evolutionary pressure on the PR industry, but developing content doesn't mean disregarding traditional media. It is about getting contemporary platforms to work in harmony with the established stalwarts.
There has been widespread hype over the proliferation of new technologies and the impact of social media on PR, leading to a mix of sensationalised prophecies and fascinating insight.
Naysayers proved wrong
Those who thought that traditional media would be crushed under the weight of new channels have been proven wrong, particularly from a broadcast perspective, where record listener numbers have been logged in 2013. But in an age of 4G, live streaming, rich media and social channels, new media and visual content is a force with which to be reckoned.
More than a billion unique users are now visiting YouTube each month while, seemingly in juxtaposition, 89.8 per cent of the UK population listen to the radio and 79.6 per cent watch TV. A recent study by Atomik Research revealed that 63 per cent of 1,282 respondents chose to tune into the radio to listen to new music rather than digital music platforms, suggesting that new media are working in harmony with the old.
Social platforms, which are becoming increasingly mobile in their nature, are magnets for visual campaigns, so much so that they have almost eclipsed text-based content. In 2012, Pinterest and Instagram were the fastest-growing social networks, with users spending 88 per cent more time on websites that contained videos. By 2016, it is estimated that two-thirds of the world's mobile traffic will be video, and PR will have to adapt to keep up.
At 4mediarelations, we have found that the challenge isn't choosing which platform to use, but providing a "complete" package that incorporates a wider spectrum of broadcast media. Harnessing all broadcast channels including social and viral techniques is proving to be the best way of bringing campaigns to life, by using technologies that appeal to consumers across the board.
Digital campaigns that feature visual content will continue to perform well, but it is important to note that video content is only one element to broadcast, and digital campaigns can often benefit from an engaging content package.
It is also important not to be limited to a single spokesperson or story angle, but to work out what is required to target the desired audience with the best broadcast approach. That could mean the brand becomes the broadcaster itself through live streaming, or it uses radio days, video content, workshops or a range of other options to drive audience interaction.
This helps when storytelling or establishing a narrative as part of the brand message. A recent international campaign we ran, called The Happiness Test, on behalf of a tourism agency used a range of broadcast tactics to support newsworthy research-driven content we had generated.
By marrying various broadcast techniques with new-age media, not only did we generate a fascinating viral campaign, but we also communicated the key messages across TV, radio and several visual media. The campaign succeeded by building a bespoke package of broadcast interviews, social media, video content and outside broadcasts, keeping the brand message at its heart and key audiences in mind.
As broadcast consultants, our clients take our advice on how their campaigns can benefit from the additional support of a package of engaging broadcast content that complements all channels. It is our role to steer clients through the myriad of options that are now available and to drive audience engagement with the best content possible. As technology continues to evolve, it can be comforting having this level of expertise on board, and it is enthusing to see that the appetite for new content is growing at all levels.
Our clients increasingly regard rich, multimedia content as a required companion of the traditional TV or radio day. Live streaming is becoming a must have for PR launches or events and, as one of the leading broadcast consultancies, we are perfectly positioned to deliver crystal-clear content straight to live TV audiences, social media channels or websites.
Views in brief
What is the best branded app that you have seen recently?
Edward Cyster, CEO 4mediarelations