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Rethinking Public Relations


"The investment required to produce content with an ad agency and then book advertising space on local television, as with the traditional model, has become ludicrous in today's economy given the digital resources"

While many organisations in Trinidad and Tobago would prefer to pretend that the world isn’t rapidly evolving in front of us, they will soon realize a difference in revenues if they continue to keep their eyes closed. Almost every single aspect of the marketing organisation has turned on its head in the last 5 years rendering the old model completely futile. Professional Marketers, Communicators and Publicists are now forced to approach their objectives, strategies, tactics and control mechanisms from a whole new angle.

Fortunately, they’re not alone. This global shift affects us all and some organisations have already begun to transform their marketing departments to fit the needs of a new democracy with marketingcommunications. It seems many qualified Caribbean professionals (and organisations alike) are still unsure as to what’s needed to truly be a great marketing organisation in today’s digital-first world. This article zooms in to one of the most glaring changes to the way marketing communications is carried out. Public Relations (PR) has been a majorly impactful tool in the arsenal of the integrated marketer, and still remains one, but not in the way we’ve become accustomed.


Content & Community management is the new PR

Public Relations, for a very long time, has had a lot to do with the PRO or Publicist's relationships and network of media practitioners. Communications managers in Corporate T&T prided themselves on a rolodex of editors in the Trinidad Guardian, Newsday and Express and a few good friends in Radio.
Event promoters crossed their fingers in hopes that a reporter from one of the big media houses would show up with a camera man. The more sophisticated ones segmented their audiences and went after magazine editors. Those days are now completely over. This model has changed.

The old PR model (shown below) demonstrates how the PRO would send a press release to his/her
rolodex of media contacts with the understanding that most of them will not publish it, except the ones known personally, they will then re-write the story and publish it on a day that best suits the media house, driven by sales priorities.



The new model (shown below) allows the PRO to release information directly to their communities which were built on a genuine interest in the brand. Of course, releases are still sent to the media, but only targeted media who write about what the brand has to say. The newest piece to this puzzle is the blogger, who in many cases carry more weight than the media houses, by the mere fact that they have higher readerships of genuinely interested people.

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Instead of investing time and money hobnobbing with the media, PR superstars now create and distribute their own content and build relationships directly with their communities. Through effective branded content, Community Managers build an audience of genuinely interested followers and communicate directly with them as often as necessary. It is important to note that branded online content is not simply repurposed advertising material, but rather material that is created to meet and engage consumers where they are at different stages of the online brand experience.The diagram below illustrates the different stages that content is used and the types of content that may be used at each stage.



From the diagram above, you can see that content is developed for each stage of the funnel to encourage customers to move closer to a sale position and then maintain a relationship with them. It’s important to note that the investment required to produce content with an ad agency and then book advertising space on local television, as with the traditional model, has become ludicrous in today’s economy given the digital resources available to us. The integrated marketing communications team is now a content and community management team, producing and promoting content on its own. My next article will dive more deeply into the purpose of the Content Funnel and demonstrate how to use it effectively as a conversion tool.



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