by Kelly Pyart, PR Consultant
As a technology public relations agency, we have seen first-hand the fundamental shift of the reliance on digital in the last 12 months. No doubt, this has also impacted how we do PR. With the sad disappearance of face-to-face communication worldwide at trade events, creating truly engaging interactions online has been a challenge accepted by the Proactive PR team over the past year.
This is what we have learnt:
Social media, blogs, webinars, and podcasts are all opportunities to share a message but creating a conversation is where true meaningful engagement happens. The water cooler chat or trade show lunches may have disappeared, but we are all hungry for exchanging ideas and solutions when it comes to driving the next technology innovation.
Inviting an audience to engage through webcast or live social media Q+A’s has led to some much needed problem-solving and solution-sharing conversations. As we continue living our lives online, brands should consider sparking an interesting conversation with those who matter most to them and invite them to take a seat at the table.
Preliminary stats from initial lockdowns worldwide suggest people are spending 50 to 70 percent more time online as a result of living, working and learning at home. With time spent online and content in abundance, getting the story and the message right is vital for pausing thumbs on screens.
Data is an advantage
The great potential of capturing an audience’s attention online is that we can use data to target messages at exactly who we want to reach. Imagine doing the same at a trade show with a billboard in someone’s face – not cool! LinkedIn sponsored campaigns have been a go-to tool in the belt repeatedly over the last year and the results are incredibly cost-effective for these uncertain times.
By targeting certain job profiles and segments of society, our clients have seen a jump in their follower numbers, as well as receiving higher engagement and a greater number of people clicking through to their website.
Trust is powerful
We are all searching for a trusted expert in more ways than one in these uncertain times! Profiling an expert within a company has always been an effective PR strategy, but is more relevant than ever to foster new relationships with key stakeholders. By-lined feature articles, media, and video interviews, as well as virtual event involvement, are key opportunities for individual experts to use their human voice to provide value to those who are seeking someone they can trust.
What isn’t virtual?
Having learnt first-hand the positive impact of networking at events, we at Proactive PR are certainly missing the exciting trade shows that occupied our calendars. However, in its place we have discovered the opportunities that online events present. Without the travel, expenses, and the resulting physical and time constraints, we have seen virtual event speaking opportunities invent a new technology innovation in teleporting (we wish)!!! Whilst we still dream of writing this press release one day, we are so thankful for virtual events opening a world of opportunities to share expertise with audiences across the world. You can never truly replace the buzz of an in-person event, but virtual events should be a key element of PR strategies.
We have also helped our clients to host their very own events for customers and trade press. Taking the initiative and holding virtual shows to showcase their specific skills and knowledge and engage with the industry has driven brand awareness, with record numbers of attendees showing up and engaging!
Is a virtual event presentation the same as a webinar? Nonetheless, webinars are another great way forward that more and more of our clients are opting for. Not only do some increase leads, but it is relatively easy for people to join from home or catch up at a time convenient to them with the recorded version.
Being social on social media
Social media is another tool that has long been relied on by PR professionals. However, it has taken on an altogether new emphasis during the last 12 months and will continue to have a huge impact on the way companies engage with both customers and the press.
With more people online than ever before, we have encouraged our clients to become more active on social media with engaging content. Video content has taken the lead to again increase the human interaction we so desperately need. We have lost count of how many videos we have created for clients this year for social media, press releases and websites. There is no doubt that it has become a key service that we offer.
Digital burnout… listen whilst cooking!
We initially saw a huge peak of interest in virtual events, followed by a subsequent drop towards the end of 2020. Laptop, phone and TV screens can sometimes create a digital burnout at the end of the day, with many of us seeing our screen time grow through the roof. We’ve found that multitasking is key. The convenience of listening to a podcast or video interview whilst doing something else is proving to be a good way of keeping a listener engaged – particularly when trying to engage people with their work hats on too!
A bright future
As we continue to move forward in 2021 and the impact of the global pandemic unfortunately continues, it is important brands rethink their PR strategies and look at how they can best adapt to this ever-changing situation. Those that think ahead and can move with the inevitable digital transformation in both business and communications will gain a competitive edge when needed the most. Come on technology experts, we should know this better than anyone!
VR lunch meeting anyone?
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