Less than 10 years ago, public relations professionals were using the age-old fax machine to send media alerts and pitches to reporters to conduct media relations; a method of telecommunication that might seem archaic to PR pros of 2015 considering the rapid evolution of technology and vast amount of communication platforms that exist today. Now, one in four journalists have indicated that they prefer to be contacted by public relations professionals through social media rather than traditional emails and phone calls. As a result, more than 80% of PR professionals say that PR can no longer operate without social media – they are one in the same.
It is the inherent function of corporate communications professionals to deliver messages to the public, whether the messages are intended for consumers, industry experts or reporters and journalists alike. While the platform for communication has evolved, it is important to recognize that it still falls under the umbrella of the PR function to manage and oversee what messages are being relayed to the public and how the company is being positioned in the marketplace. Too often, it seems as though this point is overlooked and social media and public relations are forced to operate in separate silos alongside one another instead of in unison. As a result, companies can find themselves in situations where their traditional and social platforms are unaligned in message and reputation.
Although social media continues to grow, it is not taking the place of traditional media. Rather it is giving communications professionals the opportunity to tailor messages to specific audiences and networks that resonate best with the audience they are trying to reach. When traditional and social forces are combined, they become more powerful in delivering a consistent message and building a unified brand image across all platforms and audiences.