Public relations professionals have countless tech options at their disposal for steering reputations and cultivating conversations. With emerging technologies and updates to existing software, it’s become harder for PR teams to determine which tools are most effective.
The road most taken is still a prominent route, as news articles, blogs, television, radio, podcasts, and various online outlets are still some of the best ways to expand outreach and generate buzz. With that being said, there are still many emerging technologies and avenues to explore that can boost PR success.
We’re here to go over some of the PR technology on the horizon that will equip businesses and PR agencies with the right tools to reach their goals.
The Next Wave of PR Software and Tools
You’ve probably heard a lot about Clubhouse recently, but you may not understand how inventive and revolutionary this platform can be for PR. This invite-only app offers a way for users to “listen-in” on important, audio-only conversations surrounding their interests. As each member has only two invites to hand out, you’ll need to craft relationships with current members either in-person or through social media. Users can target their “rooms” by choosing from a spectrum of genres like Finance, Social Issues or Health.
You can input a “raise your hand” action to be called upon to engage in the dialogue with influencers or even executives that would be impossible to connect with otherwise. For instance, there was recently a call to participate in a Clubhouse to earn a pitching spot for Netflix.
Over the years at Merritt Group, we have used a few different media databases. Muck Rack really fits our needs as a B2B/B2G tech agency and is a fan favorite as they are the only database that allows journalists to claim publicly available profiles, so their contact and biographical data is more accurate and comprehensive. They are innovative in that they’ve enabled collaboration for teams, so we can collaborate on notes and media lists so they don’t overlap, especially in a remote environment. You can do many things like other PR software platforms — find the right journalists or bloggers, send customized pitches, and develop media monitoring…Furthermore, Muck Rack does an excellent job of integrating a journalist’s social activity in contact profiles, so you can know exactly what they are passionate about. This is critical for targeting the right member of the media and driving results for clients.
NinjaOutreach continues to be a frontrunner for PR professionals connecting with influencers and bloggers. With millions of social media influencers, bloggers, and other leads in their network — it should come as no surprise that this technology will continue to be a massive success.
If you’re looking to get ahead of the chatter about your business, Awario is a fantastic social listening tool. It offers access to data and insights about customers, the marketplace, and even competitors so that you can make informed decisions about outreach.
Founded by newswire veterans, News Direct provides a self-service model that includes multimedia releases and comprehensive metrics. AI-assisted editing tools support AP-style compliance, spelling and grammar.
VR + AR
Both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) has been trying to break out of their infancy for years — and every month, we feel closer and closer to realizing their true potential. Applying these capabilities to PR can dramatically increase reach and user engagement, as VR and AR can deliver interactive features that keep users from multitasking, keeping them focused on your message. Social media platforms have integrated AR into their apps — most notably, Snapchat for reaching younger audiences.
Meanwhile, VR can draw users — and reporters — inside your story. Whether it’s The New York Times mailing out Google Cardboard glasses to their subscribers to engage in a VR film or Volvo allowing users to test-drive vehicles through Google Cardboard as well — there’s certainly an opportunity to create lasting impressions with influencers through VR and AR.
Navigating the Future of PR
While technology is an extremely useful tool, there are trends to look out for in the future. Building communities and distributing content will continue to be a major staple for PR success, but there are some shifts in focus to be aware of on the horizon.
Raw & informal video is dominating most social platforms, as there’s been a pivot towards short form and temporary content. Creators and brands alike have found immense success harnessing influencers in this space, as the content is incredibly easy to make and can create lasting buzz and even advocacy if performed correctly.
While Snapchat may have been the first to stake a claim in this content form, nearly every other social media platform has followed suit. Whether it’s Instagram and Instagram stories, TikTok, or even Twitter’s “fleets,” these one-day-only content factories will continue to grow and expand.
Human-to-human focus is here, at least for the foreseeable future. Whether it’s through storytelling or brand transparency — connecting with audiences in a genuine way is critical. There’s never been a time where messaging needs fine-tuning for the human element more than today, and this will only continue to grow as time moves on.
The consumer-centric model is one thing, but truly engaging with audiences, clients, influencers, and even journalists on a human level is crucial. Instead of the stoic and dry professional veneer that many industries maintain, content should cater to this humanized state of being in a way that feels genuine and raw.
Looking Toward the Future
PR success hangs in the balance of technological advancements, as the online marketplace has become the primary stomping ground for creating meaningful conversations and telling brand stories. The vast majority of creative services, online campaigns, and content initiatives rely on these technologies — but never at the expense of creating lasting relationships.
The human element will always be present, as a business’s primary goal is influencing people into purchases or partnerships. Whether it’s B2B, B2C, or even B2G efforts — connection will always matter.
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