The multifaceted nature of broadcast PR

4mediarelations White Paper

A new white paper from 4mediarelations has uncovered the secrets to a successful broadcast PR campaign in the 21st century by analysing how the role of traditional media is being impacted by disruptive forces of the digital age.

Public Relations has been at the forefront of evolutionary change in the media scape, but is still bound by traditional outputs and methods. Broadcast media is a particularly good case in point. Unlike print media – where a statistical drop off in print readership has coincided with an uptake of online readership – traditional broadcast media such as TV and radio have remained prominent and have even got more prominent among consumers of media, working in juxtaposition with new digital outputs.

Thus, PR professionals and agencies have had to adapt to an environment where they must be multifaceted. From live streaming and social media-led campaigns to traditional TV and radio placement, the broadcast industry demonstrates the many challenges and opportunities for brands in the 21st century, and how public relations is becoming more relevant as a result. 

Evolutionary Leap  

The biggest evolutionary leap in PR has arguably come in the past few decades with the advent of the internet. Although most companies now have web and social media presence, research has shown brands are not fully embracing new media, are ill-equipped to do so and have a fear of the technology (Alfonso & de ValbuenaMiguel, 2006). In an age where online news, social media and other digital media channels are slowly eroding the dominance of traditional media, this could be an expensive mistake to make.

Multimedia content is the vocal chords in the mouth of the internet. In the digital age people are constantly on the lookout for new and engaging ways of digesting content, which has manifested in a variety of new media forms, particularly in the broadcast industry. Businesses transmit messages through YouTube channels, digital press releases, Video News Reels (VNR’s), Live Streaming and Events. Given the amount of content businesses produce, the advent of multimedia is comparable to translating War and Peace into digestible snippets of engrossing video, audio and visual to be consumed anywhere and at any time, a tremendously powerful prospect indeed.

Traditional Broadcast Media

Traditional platforms have, however, not lost their dominance as a key transmitter of media consumption among the general public. An Atomik Research study found television and radio remain the most popular forms of media for breaking news and new music. What’s more, the introduction of paywalls is driving people back to the traditional stalwarts. It seems, therefore, that rather than replace old media, new channels are working in juxtaposition with them. Specialisation has come to the fore, which makes multi-channel coverage all the more important, particularly if the content is targeted.

Alfonso & de ValbuenaMiguel’s research has highlighted that brands feel a little lost in the current media scape. Promoting a consistent message across numerous vital media channels has left both brands and agencies scratching their heads, and sector specialism will become increasingly important as a result.

Response

PR professionals and agencies are presented with a wealth of opportunities with the evolution of broadcast. With more platforms at their disposal and a growing global audience within reach, there are roughly four considerations that should be made for every campaign:  

- The core campaign

Core campaigns are the focal event, usually broadcast over the radio or television using a spokesperson or spokespeople, live event or occurrence. This centralised focus is key to multi-channel campaigns as it ensures key messages are communicated consistently. Radio interviews, b-roll or live streaming must therefore be well orchestrated.

- The subsidiary support

Subsidiary support is provided largely by new online channels and social media, which consumers are happy to digest alongside core campaigns. Twitter hashtags are a particularly good example of how this subsidiary support can help boost campaigns as it provides listeners/watchers with an outlet to interact with the brand. However, online features placed on websites and utilising YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest and other platforms are similarly valuable. The key to winning over neutral social media users is being creative with how you capture their attention.

-          Multimedia backing

Multimedia content is the enabler of multichannel campaigns. Not only can people watch content, but they can share and interact with it in new ways across a number of channels. Broadcast campaigns that utilise YouTube channels, digital press releases, Video News Reels (VNR’s) and Live Streaming not only engage new sensory reactions but also open campaigns up to interaction. As discussed, social sharing is tremendously powerful but is not a given. Brands must fight for ‘shares’, ‘pins’ and ‘likes’ and will find the best way of doing so is creating engaging multimedia content.

-          The case for specialisation

Using a single media platform to project brand messages is a similarly interesting prospect in the right circumstance. For brands with a specific appeal or identifiable audience, creating targeted messages rather than relying on mass media has proved to be a prudent tactic. Furthermore, this methodology is supported by research that suggests media consumption is becoming more specialised, with platforms adopting roles within the digital hemisphere, rather than attempting to offer a holistic service.

For specialised campaigns, industry knowledge is key. This is particularly true for new media, where brands must fight for viewers/ listeners by producing engaging content. In order for this to be achievable a ground knowledge the industry mixed with targeted, creative direction will give a campaign the best chance of success. 

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