As someone who lives, breathes, and dreams of press releases, I believe there are a number of underlying issues affecting the long-term development of public relations in Asia. Chief among these is social media.
The social media revolution has rendered the humble press release ineffective. A growing number of active social media users research and learn about a specific organisation, business, or product through social networking sites.
Likewise, business is leveraging social media platforms to collect feedback and harness the power of word-of-mouth, creating a sense of community with consumers and clients.
Everyone is using social media. It is an effective and efficient way to reach out to a wider audience. But it can also be a double-edged sword if it gets out of control. A well-planned social media strategy is essential to ensure effective communication with consumers and clients. At the same time, journalists remain important as consumers and businesses still look to traditional media, both online and offline, as an official source of information.
Press releases can also be part of an effective communication strategy, but the approach — and the execution — has to evolve. No one has time for lengthy, empty text filled with unnecessary quotes and flowery words that are written simply to please the boss. Unfortunately, there are businesses that are still issuing lengthy press releases that talk about everything except the important points. Then they plaster these empty messages across all social media networking sites — where, unsurprisingly, the engagement level is zero. This has to stop.
Essentially, all audiences are looking for the same thing — content that is true, accurate, transparent, and relevant.
When I took up a project to manage an online newsroom on behalf of a client in the tourism industry, I immediately embraced social media platforms. As a former trade journalist, I have applied brand journalism to create high-quality press content, which includes feature articles and crisis communication management, that goes far beyond the lifeless marketing spin of a press release.
I ensure content is shareable and contains engaging multimedia components to suit a range of different audience demographics.
And in an era of constant change, it is also important to regularly review your communication strategy to ensure you remain relevant in the social media ecosystem.