There have been some ridiculously big changes in the media industry recently. New technology is running rampant and altering the digital media landscape as we know it. The world is changing quicker than we realise. But with change comes infinite opportunity….
There are more platforms open to us to use than ever before, and this is affecting how marketing communications are delivered. No medium can function on its own and establish its own separate space. Convergence is alive and well in the media.
“Media convergence is more than simply a technological shift. Convergence alters the relationship between existing technologies, industries, markets, genres and audiences’ (Jenkins cited in Powell, 2013, p.6)
This realignment of relationships allows for a greater engagement with our audience. Conversation channels are much broader than before, allowing new and interesting ways in which to spark a dialogue in communities. For example, there are now two-way communications available through social media channels or the comments section on a website. Interactions on social media sites are particularly important for public relations practitioners, as they carry the weight of the all-important “word of mouth” rating. With this in mind, many PR agencies are adjusting their digital strategies to include a focus on social media.
But one thing is sure, and that is content is still king. The new digital generation wants to see quality content and they want to see it yesterday. They want to be able to access it when it suits them, and on what platform they prefer. The PR industry needs to ensure that their attitude to content creation aligns with this manner of thinking if they hope for their content to reach the target audiences.
In 2012, The Guardian relaunched its brand with a very clever award-winning advert* that set out the retelling of the three little pigs story for the digital age. Now you may have seen it – it’s an oldie but a goodie:
On the face of it, this advert is showing us what The Guardian is able to do for us, but it is when you look deeper that you realise this multi-platform approach is essential in this day and age. Journalists need to deliver a vast variety of content to keep up in this ever-changing digital media landscape.
It is no different for public relations. We need to ensure that we create quality content for every platform if we hope to get our message across. There is a need to have a “coordinated flow of stories, characters and images that enhance the consumer’s experience of a brand” (Powell, 2013, p.10).
Creativity is key here. You will not get noticed amid the floods of user-generated content if you don’t stand out. Seeking the ever elusive viral post is pointless when you don’t have the right content. However, getting the ‘right’ content can be tricky. All you need to do is ensure your digital media platform bases are covered, create an interactive experience for your audience and not be afraid to experiment.
Once you get that money-making idea that is….
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*The 3 Little Pigs advert won a gold lion in the Film category, one gold and five silver lions in the Film Craft category and silver in the Titanium and Integrated category at the Cannes Lions Advertising Awards (June 2012)
Powell, H. (2013) Promotional culture and convergence: markets, methods, media. Routledge, London.