Many things have changed in the public relations (PR) industry in recent years. In fact, PR today looks drastically different than it did just a few short years ago. It really hasn't been that long since PR professionals spent their days faxing press releases to editors with the hopes of one of them getting picked up.
These mass press releases have now evolved into emailing catered pitches to an editor, blogger or influencer you have known for years. All of these changes reflect an important shift in the industry that cannot be ignored: a deviation from traditional PR tactics to digital PR strategies, and chief marketing officers (CMOs) are taking note. Here are three reasons why digital PR is taking precedence over traditional PR in the minds of CMOs today.
Digital PR is Driven by Hard Data
Let's be honest, competition is increasing exponentially in every industry out there - whether it be pet food, skin care products or business-to-business (B2B) services. In order to stay afloat, it is more important now than ever that brands and PR professionals focus on drawing conclusions and making decisions based on hard data. Assumptions just don't make the cut anymore.
As more CMOs become acclimated with and see the power of Google Analytics, the more demand there is for PR professionals to understand the platform and know how to draw actionable insights from the data it provides.
Modern day PR professionals should have a basic understanding of how Google Analytics works so they are able to speak to marketing efforts outside of their own channel. The ability to explain how PR is bolstering other digital marketing efforts is a tremendous differentiator that many traditional PR professionals do not prioritize.
CMOs are Getting Younger & Younger
It's about that time when baby boomer CMOs are on their way out and millennial CMOs are coming in hot. This shift in C-level demographics has massive consequences for PR professionals and marketers in general. Millennial CMOs will change the way many companies do business in the future.
As digital natives, millennial CMOs are extremely well-versed in technology and, unlike many of their predecessors, view digital marketing as a necessity rather than an option. They understand the weight that a digital placement has nowadays versus a print placement.
In addition, if we understand one thing about millennials, it's that they are fueled by instant gratification. Growing up with the answers to all of their questions available with a quick Google search, millennials are anything but patient. As a result, when millennials make a decision, they want to see tangible results instantly. Unlike traditional PR, digital PR fulfills this need by earning placements more quickly, leading to quicker conversions and higher ROI.
CMOs Report to the CEO
It can be easy to forget that even CMOs have a boss that they report to and need to keep happy. As a result, they are always looking for material that will please their CEO. Naturally, digital PR's ability to provide measurable results and tie each placement back to ROI generated will impress the CEO and bring a sense of positivity to every report. However, it also offers a level of control that traditional PR cannot provide.
Also, with such heavy competition nowadays, it is getting harder and harder to maintain consistent messaging. Any seasoned PR professional can attest to that. Fortunately, if a digital placement is published with incorrect messaging, a PR pro can easily contact the editor they are in touch with to correct the information. This is a walk in the park compared to the panic that occurs when a highly circulated print magazine or newspaper gets your brand's messaging wrong in a placement.
Time and Place
Traditional PR, however, should be forgotten. It is still an extremely powerful channel for many companies. However, it is even more powerful when integrated into a digital PR strategy and more and more CMOs are beginning to realize this.
About the Author
Kate Lobel is public relations manager at Power Digital Marketing, an agency that helps companies understand digital marketing and realize the opportunity gaps online within their industry.