Prior to the digital age, traditional public relations practices consisted of the creation and distribution of press releases, trade show participation, and relationship building through philanthropic efforts and press agentry to gain media exposure. Companies focused more on disseminating information to the public than on the how or why. Measuring results proved difficult as well. The technological boom has redefined the roles public relations professionals perform within an organization and how we measure results.

Public Relations Defined

Today, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Traditional public relations practices still play a major role in strategic campaigns and branding strategies; however, the digital age has brought with it new distribution methods and measurement tools that allow public relations professionals to track campaign results in real time.

Public relations can be broken down into various areas of expertise, including but not limited to: crisis communications, reputation management, marketing communications, corporate communications, internal communications, community relations, media relations, and so on. As a full-service marketing agency, Adams Media Group specializes in each one of these areas. PRSA provides a detailed glossary of terms that provides further clarification.

Clearly, technology hasn’t eliminated the need for public relations. It has only given public relations professionals greater ability to connect with their target audiences. Research shows a significant shift from traditional media to digital. According to Pew Research, about one-in-four U.S. adults get their news from social media. As such, it is now easier than ever before for public relations professionals to submit their stories to the media or to communicate more effectively day-to-day or during a crisis, especially through social media.

Measurements for Success

Measuring a campaign’s performance can be as simple as tracking an increase in followers, likes, or Tweets. Social media analytics tools make this process even easier by funneling this data into a single dashboard to provide a clearer understanding regarding overall social engagement so that companies can gage their return on investment (ROI). These key insights weren’t available prior to the digital age.

Google Analytics is another primary tool used to track a campaign’s success. With one simple block of code, you can measure onsite traffic, track traffic sources, time on site, bounce rate, user demographics, conversions, and more. Plus, it offers real-time reporting.

Analyzing a company’s online presence, as well as its competitors, can give a more descriptive and in-depth perspective than ever before. Analytics can provide insight into what content does well on social media and what content does not. It can also provide insight into what your target audience likes and what they dislike. If you or your company needs the support of a technologically advanced marketing team, contact Adams Media Group for a complimentary needs analysis.

what is public relations in the digital age

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