The future of offline PR
Your audience logs off, do you? Embrace offline PR
The changes in the field of PR have been focused on online development. Where does that leave offline PR? Well, not in the same spot as a few years ago. Offline PR is changing as we speak. Especially due to the evolution of online PR, offline will play a big role in the future. Authentic and personalized communication is on the rise, and offline PR has the tools to facilitate this trend.
Rapid changes in the field of PR
Traditionally, offline PR consists of one-way communication without much feedback. With online communication being the norm, one-way communication is turning into a thing of the past. Personalized and direct communication is the latest trend that is taking over; audiences are looking for something that stands out. With an almost infinite amount of content to be found, it is of vital importance to be authentic and provide your audience with something valuable. Sending your brand message is not enough. Building a relationship based on trust and sharing valuable content your audience is looking for, is the way forward.
The past few years, the field of PR has changed quite a bit. With communication and marketing taking the lead in adapting online changes, PR has been pushed to embrace the latest trends and adapt to the changing world around us. Blogs, social media, forums and tools to monitor and schedule content have been integrated into most PR teams by now. Sharing content freely, presenting yourself as a thought leader within your field of expertise and connecting with your audiences on multiple online channels has become the norm. PR teams can’t stay behind. You need to be on top of the latest trends your audience is adapting to make sure you reach the people you are targeting.
Trends that are worth mentioning are:
Integrating blogs and social media into the PR strategy
Measurability of PR efforts is increasingly important
Focus on authentic brand story and thought leadership
Direct and personalized communication
Audiences are being targeted more specifically
Online versus offline
Nowadays, talking about offline PR is hardly possible without mentioning online. Online PR and online communication have changed the world immensely over the last two decades. Audiences are more in control of what content they consume and which channels and formats are being used to consume this content. Keeping up with the latest trends among your target audience is vital to a successful PR strategy, both online and offline.
With the introduction of many monitoring and scheduling tools for online communication, the need for measurable and standardized preparation of PR efforts is on the rise. Offline PR efforts, such as events, will need to be measured in terms of ROI. Also, the organization of offline PR efforts need to be standardized in order to have a clear overview and planning of the tasks at hand. In these ways, the development of online PR has greatly influenced offline PR. The funny thing is, due to the movement towards more authentic, direct and personalized communication in online PR, offline PR is proving to be increasingly relevant and important.
Audiences are being targeted constantly, online and offline. They can choose how, when and where to consume which content. To effectively connect with your target audience, you need to be where they are, present the content they want to consume and do this in a manner they find appealing. Using offline PR strategies will distinguish you from organizations that focus on online PR only. Hosting an event, attending seminars, participating in a relevant television show or collaborating on a piece for the newspaper will go a long way.
Traditional media still matter and audiences want to connect with you directly, preferably face to face. Use the assets you already have. Send your employees to interesting meetups and events, send them to speak at events and create an environment in which your employees are stimulated to tell the world about what they know and do. This will support your brand story and values and increase the chances of connecting with your target audience directly, in an authentic way.
Offline customer relationships
PR is about building relationships. Relationships are based on trust, adding value to each others lives and establishing a connection with each other. There is a lot you can gain with online PR, but it is people who make up your audience and they live offline! Connecting on a personal level is still the most valuable way of creating a lasting relationship. Go out there and talk to your audience, meet them in person and connect with them directly rather than online only (source: Has offline PR made a comeback?).
People still go to stores to buy an item they researched online and they trust on expert advice of a person they spoke to more than a blog or article on a website. Recommendations from peers are highly valuable. People are used to checking online reviews before they make a purchase, but they tend to take a recommendation from somebody they know more seriously (source: Marketing Statistics). Do you want to boost the word of mouth reputation of your business? Investing in client relationships, customer support and events is key to accomplishing that. A personal touch or face to face meeting has a more lasting impression than an article, online campaign or email conversation. Make sure your PR efforts touch both online and offline means to connect with your target audience.
The future of offline PR
The personalized relationships between organizations and their audiences is becoming increasingly important. Marketing and PR join forces more and more; supporting each other is vital in creating successful relationships with audiences and customers. Focusing on niche audiences and targeting them directly is on the rise, using offline PR means like events and industry magazines helps to connect with these people.
A proactive, transparent, and authentic approach is the way to do this. Building a lasting relationship with your audience is based on trust, and by being transparent and authentic you are creating a trustworthy image of your brand. Ultimately, this will lead to a lively community of customers, ambassadors, and prospects supporting your brand and brand story, both online and offline.
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