When the early 2014 ice and snow storms brought most of Georgia to a complete standstill, Facebook and Twitter were covered with “Snowpocalypse” stories. Whether it was pictures, videos or written accounts of how everyone survived, everyone became a reporter. On television, news stations broadcasted pictures sent in from viewers about their accounts, making the phrase “everyone is a reporter” relevant and clearly demonstrating the power of social media.
Smartphones and social media are a large part of today’s society, giving people first-hand access to events often long before reporters even arrive on the scene. Along with smartphones, blogging is something that anyone and everyone can do. You don’t have to be an expert to have a blog! So, the question now is how have these two things changed public relations? In the January 2014 issue of Public Relations Tactics, Mark Bernheimer suggests that public relations professionals need to hone in on their media skills and be cautious of their words and actions.
Being a public relations professional in this day and age means playing it safe and assuming you are always on record. By staying on your toes and understanding that everyone has the means to promote your message to the masses, you will be prepared to handle good and bad situations as they arise.
When creating messages, don’t forget to keep content clear and brief and include branding. These simple public relations steps will ensure that there is little room for misinterpretation of your messages. Bernheimer suggests these tips because they diminish your chances of people taking your words out of context.
Additionally, it is important for today’s public relations professionals to maintain professional discipline when talking to members of the media. Bernheimer specifically references bloggers, who may not have an educational or experiential background in professional media, as more likely to take your words out of context.
As stated in our post, “13 Ways PR has Changed,” the profession has changed quite a bit over the past few years, public relations professionals need to stay up-to-date with how to maintain their credibility. No one wants a misconstrued message going viral! If you think your company needs some help in the public relations department, be sure to contact us today by clicking here.