OPINION: The dynamic triangle at the heart of PR
As Aspectus explores a service model incorporating more animated videos, infographics and cartoons, Alastair Turner, the agency’s Global CEO, explains how delivering PR is driven by three major factors and continues to grow and evolve.
PR is all about engaging an audience and changing people’s attitudes or behaviour. To achieve engagement, we persuade through creative communications. That has not changed since the dawn of marketing.
But delivery of PR – the way in which we communicate our creativity – has changed out of all recognition. Today, PR is driven by a dynamic triangle involving media, search and content. The three elements are of equal importance and need to work in harmony – no single one can be truly effective without the other two.
Content has always been the engine room of PR. Content isn’t just copy – as far as we are concerned, it spans video, infographics, imagery… anything that can make an impression. Anything that can engage a target audience has value, no matter the format.
However, the written word is still crucial and always will be as long as it’s interesting, original, well-written, stylish, provocative (perhaps) and highly readable. The best content is short and to the point. Though there is place for longer, in-depth content, most people want to absorb information quickly with minimal effort. Make it light and funny if you can. Humour works. People like it and they like sharing it. And they certainly won’t share anything that is a pain to read because it will reflect badly on them.
Just relying on old-school media relations is like flying a plane on one engine without knowing you have two others. You have to use all the component parts of what we simplistically call ‘the media’ in a dynamic way in order to get the full attention you deserve, and to give yourself the best possible chance of reaching and influencing your target audience. You can’t do this with separate, disconnected approaches.
Search is the DNA of modern communications: the code that tells you how well your stories and ideas are working, how they are engaging people and affecting their behaviour and attitude. It also creates the essential dynamism of modern content distribution, and the electrical current that enables that content to be shared, communicated around the web and picked up by Google.
At Aspectus, we tell our clients that all PR content must be fully optimised around the same sort of search terms that are woven into their websites, collateral, advertising, sales packs and presentations.
Without search being taken into the equation, you could spend your life firing content into the media atmosphere only for it to be seen for just a brief moment – like a meteor in the night sky – before vanishing back into the inky black of the digital universe forever, never to be seen or found again. With search your content can remain live – being seen, re-seen and updated for years and all the while engaging more and more people.
It’s about creating, sharing, driving and measuring traffic flows. In the end, this is more or less the only way you can engage an audience, and the only way to change attitudes and behaviour using communications in today’s world.
- In February, Gorkana released a White Paper, ‘The changing identity of PR in the modern media mix’ which shows how PR is increasingly offering integrated services as the industry evolves.