Diving into a new industry can be daunting. I’ve switched to the world of PR after seven years in television, but I take solace in the fact that TV and PR are two similar industries with different goals – same, same but different. That being said, I’ve found that PR is neither daunting nor scary. If the processes are similar but the goals different, then all you have to do is adjust focus (excuse the pun) because the need to relate to the public remains the same.
Here’s how I define both industries:
PR – the process of relating to the public with the objective of establishing positive customer and company relationships through strategic means (publicity events, storytelling, social media strategy).
TV – the process of relating to the public with the objective of informing, educating or entertaining through visual means (Television, On-Demand programming, social media).
Both have the need to relate to the public, both have their own individual means in relating to the public, but both have their own individual objectives.
Even though it’s still early days for me in PR, I’ve noticed three concepts I’ve picked up from TV that are just as important here:
Know your audience
During my time at Sticky TV as a presenter, writer and social media strategist, knowing the audience became imperative. Kids and teenagers are the most malleable to social trends, and in this age of new music, new movies, memes and fashion changing second by second, you either keep up or get left in the dust. How did Gangnam Style go from the biggest phenomenon in pop culture to kitsch in the span of a year? Why don’t millennials think Facebook is “cool” anymore? Has YouTube overtaken traditional TV?
Although the audiences I deal with in PR are a bit different to the primarily kids based audience I’ve dealt with in the past, my curiosity for who these people are, what they do, and how they do it remains the same. So, if I can think the way they think, understand what they are and aren’t into, and know the best ways to connect with them, then I’m on the right track.
Social Media and the Internet is everchanging
10 years ago, almost every teenager in NZ had a Bebo account (RIP). Then Facebook changed the game. Then Twitter turned up. Then Instagram. Vine. Snapchat.
Social media platforms and the nature of these platforms change and evolve, offering new ways to connect to audiences. Sometimes platforms evolve negatively and drive their audiences to new platforms. Internet humour and culture percolates into these social spaces, influencing real life trends and culture. These are all concepts I learnt growing up and noticed with the rise and fall of social spaces I used to venture into.
Social media and the Internet has an unbridled ubiquity that we’ve never seen before, and the way I see it, social media (as we know it) has become the apex of communication – anytime, anywhere, any place and about anything.
With this in mind, analysing these platforms, understanding the idiosyncrasies of the audience on these platforms and keeping up with the constant flux of trending content is imperative. PR, just like TV, is about establishing a positive relationship with the public, and being one step ahead social media-wise is crucial.
Content is King
Bill Gates in an essay entitled Content is King wrote, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting”.
He wrote this in 1996. 21 years ago.
Social Media has become the main hub for content consumption on the internet (and arguably the world), so it only makes sense that industries such as TV and PR have begun to capitalise on this powerful sphere of influence. Uploading content specifically catered to an audience behind a favourite TV show or a favourite brand is a fantastic way to not only reach out to the public, but to strengthen a relationship with the public. However, in this age of never-ending timeline scrolling and fleeting goldfish-like attention spans, interesting and engaging content is important, but developing content that keeps an audience watching is even more so.
These days, the audience, content, and social media are intrinsically linked. They follow a three part process of sorts that has become important more than ever in this digital age. If you know your audience, connect with them via social media and deliver content that appeals to the way they think and feel, then you can deliver your message effectively. This formula (of sorts) has become so important to TV and PR, with both industries being increasingly dependent on social media communication with their audiences.
Like I say, same, same but different.
By Gerard Seth