Specialist PR the mainstream future?

In a month when Facebook reported 30% annual growth, despite a year of scandal, there’s no escaping the direction of travel for such ‘free’ media platforms.

For the PR industry, the new era of digital intelligence offers huge opportunity, but it’s not looking good for the generalist PR approach where working to broadbrush demographics of age, gender or even geographical location no longer cuts the mustard.

But, on the plus side, we’ve all got wise to fake news, the overtly advertising-led and the perils of publicly shared content. Even for millennials, 80%* now put their faith in peer recommendation, while only 14% trust advertisements.

Specialist-PR

Great news! The PR sector has always known about the power of promoting peer-to-peer endorsement and credible thought-leadership that’s backed by the genuine ‘reasons-to-believe’. Add organisations bringing innovation and forward-thinking content to work with and we’re away.

But now there’s scope for targeting users with a precision that plays into the hands of specialist PR, that’s already tuned into the nuances of a specific audience type and marketplace.

Digital PR in agriculture

Audiences across the board are embracing technology – from new social media apps, the latest in workplace software, through to making our homes ‘smart’ and ensuring we are all, quite literally, constantly connected. And now as every digital engagement captures and narrows our visibility to information according to our likes, purchases and social engagements; the opportunity for PR abounds.

Agency and in-house PR teams need to respond by honing their specialist knowledge and pitching communications accordingly. But that mustn’t be to the detriment of accessible, creative content that’s easily digestible and on-message – and, that must be underpinned by a robust PR strategy which ironically actually makes the case for falling back on traditional PR theory.

Reputation management through PR

PR has always been fundamentally about reputation management that ‘earns’ its place at the table. It resonates with the needs of an audience, delivers an authentic case from those with a credible voice and through consistency of message. And, while the new digital age presents new channels and the need for responsiveness like never before, the theory stills holds that quality, sustained PR is a powerful tool to build allegiances, loyalty and trust, just as it always has.