Challenges of PR in the Digital World

If you were to poll top CEOs we would be willing to bet they agree that public relations plays a vital role in conveying an organization’s message to stakeholders. In the digital space, there are both benefits and certain challenges that every PR professional is facing to ensure their client’s name is top of mind publicly. Let’s take a look at the top five challenges and how to face them effectively.

  1. The Challenge: Maintaining Credibility

In the past, with print media as the only option, it was not easy to access a large audience. At that time people had to work very hard to get mentions on public platforms but nowadays you can easily convey your message to the public with the help of the internet and social media. In fact, not only can you target a much wider audience than you could in the past, but also if your message goes viral, your reach is almost unlimited.

Today’s media options are vast and offer a wide variety of platforms from digital media to traditional media to TV, social media, and more. Unfortunately, the challenge is that anyone can post anything about the company for the sake of views and popularity. The trend of clickbait, fake news, and misrepresentation have increased which can quickly cause great damage to the credibility of any established brand. 

Additionally, many inexperienced professionals are trying their luck as publicists. PR is not everyone’s cup of tea and not all can master it. Thus businesses get connected to many people who aren’t the right fit and thus assume that PR is not suitable for their business. However, this problem can be addressed by finding the right professional for your PR campaigns. One that is not only experienced in business growth but also a pro at crisis management and campaign strategy. The right person can help maintain the credibility of your brand by getting the right message across and knows how to handle a situation in case of a negative event. As such, when selecting a PR pro make sure they have strong connections with both their clients and experience in a wide variety of media platforms. Also, ask for case studies and client portfolios to review to ensure your business is the right fit for their expertise. 

2. The Challenge: Budget Constraints

This is a big one. Budgeting has been a challenge for PR in the last couple of years and these constraints have affected the capability of some PR teams. Instead of increasing the PR budget for their brand, some companies are decreasing it and noting they are not seeing the long-term value as the reason. You can avoid that issue with campaign measurement that proves the value added by PR to the overall growth of the business. Calculate the value of what your team is doing and the impact it has on the company’s growth. There are various platforms that will assist in creating monthly reports to ensure media placements are delivering results. Keep in mind, PR is not direct sales, so it is often hard to attribute campaign success to that. However, you can determine impact using social, website, and search engine metrics that point to more top-of-the-funnel results such as increased brand awareness, credibility, and engagement which are key elements in driving sales.

3. The Challenge: Digital Media Tracking

One of the challenges of PR in the digital world is consistently monitoring your digital and social media presence. Nowadays, the brand’s reputation is always at risk due to the ease of social media use. While anyone can post negatively about an established brand, a PR professional can effectively manage this problem by actively keeping track of all social media activities with the help of Google alerts and different PR tools that help in continuous monitoring. Moreover, you have to ensure your presence on every digital platform so that you can timely respond to any type of feedback by online users. And an expert PR pro will be able to help you solve any sort of online negative brand association as well as engage with your audience regularly to maintain a strong brand image. 

4. The Challenge: Lack Of Brand Trust

Today, PR professionals and firms have their work cut out for them as the trust level among consumers is currently at an all-time low according to the Edelman report. Misinformation is all too common, and unfortunately, these unethical practices create confusion and suspicion among consumers leading them to question the authenticity of claims made by any organization. If PR firms want to win this war of misinformation for their clients, they have to help build trust in the eyes of their target audience. One way to do this is by showing the brand’s support of ethical practices and living up to the vision and goals of their business.

5. The Challenge: Increased Competition

Not only is competition increasing among brands, there is an abundance of PR professionals and firms today as compared to the past. So, it’s harder to attract media and clients in this digital world and PR firms are facing plenty of challenges due to this issue.  

However, one solution to this problem is to become more knowledgeable in certain industries and/or niches. That type of specific expertise often appeals to brands seeking PR services because you’ll have the inside track they need to stand out against their own competitors. Additionally, publicists need to be creative and come up with unique ideas to get the attention of the media and their client’s target audience at the same time in the cluttered digital space. PR firms need to be strategically focused on how to present the brand better than its competitors.

Overcoming The Challenges of PR In Today’s World 

With the changing world, there are new challenges of PR for every publicist. To overcome these challenges of PR publicists need to be proactive, creative, and brand-focused. Additionally, they need to be experienced crisis managers and on top of trends in the digital world. Publicists need to be lifetime learners as well. By this, we mean that they need to learn new technologies and use new apps that can help increase their productivity as well as help them monitor their client’s brand more effectively. Most importantly, they need to have exceptional communication skills to become the bridge between the brand and the customer in developing trust, credibility, and loyalty.