If you’ve been in the PR business for a while, you may remember what it was like before computers were such a big part of the industry. Never mind smartphones and tablets; desktop computers and the web in general had an immediate, huge impact on public relations.
You would be forgiven for thinking it was just an online revolution. However, that’s not the whole story. All of PR has been changed, including the offline world. While it may not be immediately apparent right away if you weren’t around in the “before time,” a closer look will show you just how things have changed…
Reaching Your Audience
Imagine it’s 1985 and you’re organizing a community event for your company. It’s a charity bike ride culminating in a doughnut and pizza party at the end while Debbie Gibson holds a concert (hey, it’s the 80s after all). How would you go about getting people to attend?
First there’s word of mouth. You might spread out some pamphlets around major community hubs like the post office or well-attended restaurants. There’s also the press release method. No matter what, though, it’s tough to know exactly how many people you’re reaching.
Think of the same campaign now (even with Debbie Gibson music – hey, it’s ironic and hipster enough to work). You would set up a Facebook page to send everyone there to RSVP. More than likely your social media sites would be filled with members of the community who would then tell everyone else in town. Plus, you could immediately see who might be coming instead of guessing at attendance.
Online: The Other PR Space
So you’re at your event eating doughnuts and jamming out to Debbie when it hits you: there are a ton of people here who aren’t on your Facebook page or following you on Twitter. You should be taking advantage of this situation. They’re all right here in front of you after all, having a good time.
And that’s the thing about holding an offline PR event – the online world is always going to be on your mind. It’s just what you “do” now. Practically the whole planet is on the web and it’s the easiest way to organize people and remind them of your awesome company.
So you always need something with you (a banner, or business card…maybe a Debbie Gibson poster) that showcases your online presence. If not, it’s a missed opportunity to keep the conversation going.
Not Just About the Event
Back before online PR was even a thing, you would concentrate on making the best PR event you could. Your bike ride event would be the talk of the town if you were lucky your business would get all sorts of attention and glowingly positive press. Then you would settle in for the next big campaign or push.
Now, though, you always have to be thinking about the next event or push, even before the current one ends or even begins. Everything is always moving forward and you run the risk of getting left behind if you don’t have something else up your sleeve.
So it’s not enough to concentrate on the task at hand, unfortunately. Try to always look ahead and see how you can combine offline and online PR to always stay relevant in your community’s mind.
How much offline PR work do you do?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/7cheaptactics.html