Public Relations. When broken down it quite literally means relating (i.e. communicating) with the public. Yet, the term “public” is no longer as fitting as we move into an ever-increasingly personal society where we share intimate information with one another every day. Within our social circles, technology has granted us the ability to know what our neighbor had for dinner on Saturday, what our second cousin purchased at a sale on Sunday and the new job a fellow high school graduate accepted on Monday.
No matter how you slice it, we are personally connected and we have grown to appreciate and expect this personal communication. It’s only fitting that Public Relations has caught up with the trend and has moved into the realm of personal relations in order to be more effective and well received.
Let’s take a look at four main reasons why the Public Relations industry is shifting toward personal relations – and how you can utilize resources and opportunities to keep your business ahead of the curve.
There are more ways than ever to communicate with the masses on a personal level
I’ve written about how important it is to highlight the human element within your business and to build your personal brand. Thanks to technology, there are more ways than ever to achieve both of these PR goals easily and fairly inexpensively. Social media is an obvious (and very powerful) platform for connecting with your target audience on a personal level. Finally, us “regular folks” can address a concern or give a compliment to the biggest brands and get a direct – often real-time – response.
In addition to social media, technology has enabled businesses to make even direct marketing a more personalized experience. Mail and email messages not only address the recipient by name but can be crafted to reflect their very specific interests like what car they drive or what street they live on.
As surprising as it may be sometimes to receive an email from a business that knows I have a Russian Blue cat based upon a previous purchase, I love that the offers and coupons are directly relevant to my needs.
Social media encourages sharing the “human” side of your business
I don’t expect everyone to be willing to get extremely personal on social media, but I do encourage you to find a point on the spectrum that is comfortable for you. Whether you are sharing content on your personal profiles or your business’s profiles, you will increase the visibility of your posts by crafting genuine content that engages your viewers.
What this really means is skip the stock photos and use real photos of your staff or pictures from inside your office. Give a face to a name. Don’t just share a link; ask a question or offer an insightful thought that will inspire people.
Social media platforms are getting smarter at weeding out overly promotional content and spam. Avoid getting trapped in these filters by remaining genuine and personal with the content you share.
People don’t want to be sold something, they want to learn something
Think about the websites, blogs, emails and social media posts that catch your attention. Do they engage you because they are trying to sell you their product or service, or do they engage you because they offer information you deem to be valuable. I would imagine the vast majority of you responded with the second option.
Practice “personal relations” by first building trust with your potential customers. Give them useful information at no cost and with no obligations. As an expert in your field you should be grateful for any opportunity to share your knowledge.
Technology provides us with the ability to access information we need right at our fingertips which has evolved us into a society hungry for knowledge. Feed that hunger – and build trust in your brand – by offering useful information to your target audience.
Telling your story is what breaks through the noise and gets you remembered
If you have visited my new website, you will know that my PR philosophy is “Every business has a story. What makes yours stand out is how well you communicate it.” I truly believe in the power of modern day storytelling and I also believe that every business has a unique story or angle that can be their point of differentiation.
As the Public Relations industry shifts toward “personal relations,” telling your unique story is even more important. As a potential customer, yes we need to know what you do and how you do it, but we also now want to know WHY you do it. What inspired you? Where did you gather your expertise? Are you carrying on a tradition or legacy?
The answers to these questions are what will break through the PR and marketing noise that we are inundated with daily and help us remember why we want to do business with YOU over anyone else.
Do you agree or disagree that Public Relations has a growing emphasis on personal relations that is reshaping the industry? Share your thoughts by commenting below!