Call it what you want, it’s all the same to us

There are so many labels bandied about these days for what used to be called PR, it’s understandable that so many businesses get a little confused. And worse, it’s tempting to start compartmentalising communications strategies: “this group does PR”, “That’s the digital department”, and “that lot over there deal with social”. There’s nothing wrong in having people who are specialised in their field, but problems occur when they stop talking to each other and drift off on their own tangents.

The arrival of social media over a decade ago was an exciting time for the PR industry, but also worrying. We all recognised the opportunities, but there were threats too. Tried and trusted PR strategies started to become irrelevant; newcomers such as SEO specialists, social strategists and digital gurus arrived on the scene and threatened established PR professionals. It was tempting to become defensive, but soon we embraced it and the PR industry started to catch up.

But in all the excitement it’s easy to forget that the basic principles of professional communications still apply. And call it what you will – social media, blogging, content marketing, SEM, viral marketing – it all boils down to the simple act of identifying an audience, and engaging them with compelling stories.

At Red Marlin we concentrate on the basics first. Who does the client need to communicate with? What message do we need to get across? And what content is this audience likely to be interested in? Then we develop the stories we need to carry the message over a defined period of time. Not a digital digit is lifted during this process!

It’s only then we look at delivery channels. In the old days, it would simply be a matter of drawing up a list of specialist magazines and papers that serve our target audience but that is where life has changed in the last 20 or so years. Are they Facebook fans? Who are their key influencers on social media? Are there online groups and communities we need to target? But the stories don’t change, and they never will. We may shape those stories to fit the medium, but the key to success is still the same: to create stories that are unique, engaging and ultimately serve a purpose for our client.

I suppose we could call this “integrated communications” but that would be just another label to place on our core competency which is to tell great stories that are viewed, read, liked, shared and spread. We just call it great PR!

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