At this year’s AMEC Summit I gave a talk and was asked to participate in a panel discussion about how the digital revolution is changing PR? In the session we covered a number of areas, including making the case to grow the PR budget by mapping earned media results and understanding the cause and effect across paid, owned and earned channels.
Here are some of the key points that were made:
The digital revolution has already happened – To borrow some stats from one of the other speakers, there are now over 4bn people on the planet who have access to the internet, the average US adult is spending 23.6 hours online each week and 85% of all new advertising spend online is going to Facebook and Google. The digital revolution has already happened, and it happened on Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn. Like never before, communications professionals have the opportunity to use digital to inform strategy, get results, and measure genuine business impact for their clients or employers.
Social technologies can inform insights highly cost-effectively – To understand what target audiences think, we no longer have to have an army of people stood on high streets with clip boards. Tools like Netbase, Sysomos, Crimson Hexagon and others give you the ability to identify and research the opinions, and gather verbatims and qualitative research at quantitative scale right now. Google Consumer Surveys give a highly cost effective way of getting the answers to specific research questions, quickly.
Hyper targeting across platforms enables you to ensure your audiences see your content – Agencies like Hotwire are taking an integrated approach across paid, earned, owned and shared media to ensure that our target audiences see our content. We can use paid social and PPC targeting to ensure that our content gets seen by the publics we want to reach.
We can demonstrate our impact not just on awareness, but on search engine rankings – We can measure the SEO impact of the work that we do with tools like Majestic SEO, Moz and Searchmetrics to understand the impact that our work has had on the Google search rankings of companies for specific customer acquisition phrases they want to rank for. And we can use Google Analytics to show directly the traffic we’ve driven from sites where we’ve placed content, and driven leads, sign-ups, subscriptions or sales.
AI is becoming a viable part of the “PR Stack”- A lot of discussion across the AMEC Summit was given over to how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have an impact of the PR and Communications workflow. Special mention should be given to the work that the CIPR’s AI in PR panel has done to develop a PR competency framework, and then match that to tools using AI which are available. The robots won’t be taking our jobs any time soon, but we should be aware of how AI-enabled tools could save our teams huge amounts of time and effort, and give them a platform to do higher value and more strategic work.
My four actions for the audience to stay relevant in the post-digital PR world were as follows:
- Use social media insight as an input into campaign ideation
- Try out paid promotion of content on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc
- Get comfortable using Google Analytics for your reporting
- Look at how AI can help take away “grunt work” from your teams
These are all things were are doing at Hotwire each day, but the digital world keeps on moving, and we need to continue to invest time and effort in the latest tech and skills to continue to deliver the best possible work and results for our clients. And, of course, to deliver a measurable outcome!