Changes in technology are impacting all facets of communications. Reporters are being asked to do more with fewer resources, while PR pros must contend with a communications world that moves at the speed of light. Consumers are congregating in new places - including social networks, virtual worlds, and video sharing sites. Large and varied audiences the world over have equal access to your messages.
For the forward-thinking communicator, this offers a myriad of opportunities to connect with target audiences and take communications beyond the mainstream.
Beyond media. Reporters are no longer the sole "gatekeepers" of information. While traditional media remains important, embracing the new generation of citizen journalists, bloggers, and social networks can yield big dividends.
Organizations have the opportunity to communicate directly to consumers and investors worldwide. Today's communications is about reaching a mass audience on an individual basis and encouraging an exchange of ideas.
Many PR pros are already branching out to include blogger outreach, as evidenced by our survey where a number of bloggers said they are pitched on a regular basis. However, blindly targeting bloggers will not work; the opportunity lies in knowing your audience, and targeting your messages to those with immediate interest.
Beyond delivery. Successful communications isn't just delivering a message. It's about interaction. Communicators must pay heed to their audiences' vernacular, where they gather, and what their perceptions are of your organization and products, as well as your rivals.
Technologies that allow direct engagement and real-time interactivity are becoming mainstream and instantly measurable. Social networking communities, as well as social bookmarking and tagging tools, allow an organization to increase its audience by people spreading information quickly.
Interacting with your audience can create a cascading effect that amplifies your message and allows it to reach people who will drive interest in your company.
Beyond borders. The Internet has removed geographic and socio-economic borders. Those who are miles apart are neighbors online.
Communicators have the opportunity, and sometimes the obligation, to direct messages to a global audience. The tools are there, but it's up to the communicator to speak to those groups outside its core. Messages must translate - in both language and context.
Remember, it's not just the audiences you know that are finding your messages. The "world" is paying attention. It is therefore increasingly vital to target global audiences and create messages that have a direct, lasting impact.
New communications technologies allow an organization to take its messages beyond media, beyond delivery, and beyond borders. Maintaining relationships with traditional media will always be important, but these technologies provide an unprecedented opportunity to communicate, engage, interact, and influence an organization's audiences.
The key is to develop communications that combine traditional with cutting-edge, to create a cycle of communications that links and feeds on itself.
Dave Armon is chief operating officer of PR Newswire.