Embracing engagement during a media revolution.

The power of traditional public relations (PR) has been radically diminished in recent years. Newsrooms around the country are shrinking, with this recent Axios report indicating continued cuts across all levels. In contrast, social media is becoming increasingly crowded with content options, no matter the topic. 

It’s clear that marketers and communicators alike must continue to navigate a landscape where attention is a scarce commodity. As media dynamics undergo a radical transformation, brands that cling to outdated methods without incorporating more modern – and measurable! – techniques risk fading into obscurity and losing touch with their audience.

General Distrust: Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer has reported in recent years on the decline in trust towards traditional sources of information. Consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical of corporate messaging and instead, seek more authenticity and transparency from brands. 

Social Media as the New Newsroom: Pew Research Center highlights that 55% of adults in the U.S. get their news from social media. The traditional press release is losing its relevance as newsroom staff dwindles and consumers turn to social platforms for more “real-time” updates – no matter the legitimacy. 

Algorithmic Influence on Information Flow: The increasing role of algorithms in content distribution on platforms like Facebook and Instagram is shaping what information users see. Brands need to understand and leverage algorithmic trends – and their audience’s preferences – to ensure their content reaches the right people. 

Shifting away from traditional PR efforts presents an opportunity to deepen your relationship with your audience. You no longer have to rely solely on media. In fact, you should be emboldened with the opportunity to showcase your stories in new ways. By acknowledging the changing dynamics and adopting bolder strategies, your brand can be a trailblazer. 

Crafting compelling narratives, embracing self-publishing, pursuing authentic collaborations, and leveraging data-driven strategies are the new imperatives for brands seeking to thrive in the public domain.

Data-Driven Planning: The first step is to assess what information or content your audience is seeking from you. The good news? There are tools available that can offer data to better align your content to your audience interests.

Self-Publishing Power: The proverbial “if you build it …” phrase istrite, but applicable here with the right content and channel strategy. Brands willing to invest in self-publishing – whether it be via their website or social channels – will be better equipped to learn and evolve their engagement efforts alongside their audience.

Agile Storytelling in Real-Time: Adopting an agile storytelling approach and authentically reacting to appropriate events in real-time can prove powerful. Defining what “real-time” means to your organization is a critical first step to assess if this is viable for your organization and will fit your audience expectations. Brands must remain nimble in adjusting their narratives to stay relevant and capture audience attention.

Partnerships Over Press Releases: It’s well documented that more than 90% of consumers trust recommendations from individuals over brands. While audiences are becoming more aware of pure pay-to-play “influencer” collaborations, the power of finding authentic third-party voices to reinforce or validate your product or experience can be extremely effective – not to mention the reach to new a new audience.

User-Generated Content for Authenticity and Scale: There is power in incorporating user-generated content to contribute to your efforts. Encouraging customers to share their experiences and stories creates a more genuine connection, while helping augment content.

Crisis Communication 2.0: More real-time dialogue and engagement with your audiences will necessitate planning for those “what if?” moments. Develop crisis response strategies that include real-time social media engagement and transparent communication.

The time to adapt is now and the future belongs to those who can ride the waves of change with both resilience and flexibility.

What’s your take? Email more@creativeinferno to spark discussion.

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