Digital Convergence: Putting the Public into Public Relations

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How converged and digitised is your planned profession according to the conceptualisation of these terms in the assigned readings?

Public Relations, simply put, is the link between a client and their publics. The profession heavily relies on information and feedback from publics constantly to form target campaigns and produce quality work for their clientele (Johnson, 2014).

Digital Convergence, based on Henry Jenkins definition is ‘the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behaviour of media audiences…” (Jenkins, 2006, pg.1)

When these ideas become merged, a new approach and concept involving Public Relations is formed, called Digital Public Relations. Digital Public Relations is a relatively new idea in the Public Relations world, an idea that is rapidly becoming the most efficient way to produce, form, discuss and reveal campaigns to publics as well as within the Public Relations community.

In this clip, the concept of Digital Public Relations is discussed briefly, giving an insight into what it is and consequently, what it means for the public relations industry:

Before digital media was introduced, Publicists struggled to get across campaigns with efficiency and success due to the need to build, form and maintain contacts within the media industry (Johnson, 2014). This meant that publicists would rely heavily on other people to get their message across, creating an unnecessary barrier and delay between campaigns and its results (Johnson, 2014). With the introduction of digital media, as well as the converging of these forms of media, whether it be social media such as Instagram or Facebook, or News Apps, publicists can now contact not only clients more efficiently, but also reach out to different media sources and directly interact with the public, essentially putting the public into public relations.

In the video below, the President of the International Public Relations Association for 2013, Christophe Ginisty talks about what Digital Public Relations is and what it means for the future of Public Relations

With Digital Public Relations being taken as a more serious and preferred means of producing campaigns, publicists are required to build on skills that were previously considered satisfactory due to media convergence and the demand that it entails regarding publics and their expectations (Flew, 2014). Publicists now need to be more aware of the digital age and convergent media, resulting in the expectation that publicists need to have a wider range of skills to fully embody an effective use of digitised media (Lekushoff, 2014). This means that there’s a convergence of professions to cater to these new needs convergent media entails, such as Publicists needing Marketing skills, or Journalistic skills to properly create efficient and targeted campaigns in the digital age (Lekushoff, 2014).

When examining the McKinsey Global Institute’s Executive Summary in regards to Digital America, it is revealed that to be relevant as well as at the forefront of digital media, professions need to be in the ‘Have-Mores’ category. As the summary explains,

There is a pronounced gap between the digital “haves” and the digital “have-mores”. [The have-mores] have advanced digital assets and capabilities [that] are capturing market share and profit growth… even gaining the ability to reshape industries to their own advantage…” (McKinsey, 2014).

With this in mind, as well as Christophe Ginisty and therefore IPRA’s view on Public Relations, the industry is pushing to be at the forefront of the digital age, propelling Public Relations into new frontiers and therefore producing more effective outcomes than has ever been seen before.

With all of the opportunities that converged media brings to the digital environment as well as the way the industry is responding to these new and exciting innovations, the Public Relations Industry is most certainly becoming digitised and converged due to the efficiency and effectiveness that converged digital media brings.

 

References:

Ballcom Digital Public Relations (2015, March 19). All about Digital Public Relations [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1sdtRYHs4A
Flew, T. (2011). New Media: An Introduction. Melbourne: Oxford University Press
International Public Relations Association: IPRA (2013, May 15). PR practitioners in the Digital Age – Interview with Christophe Ginisty [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lty-hLaT6CI
Jenkins, H. (2006) Welcome to Convergence Culture, Official Blog of Henry Jenkins. Accessed 01/02/2016 from http://henryjenkins.org/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html
Johnson, J. & Sheehan, M. (2014). Public Relations: Theory and Practice, 4th ed. New South Wales: Allen & Unwin
Lekushoff, A. (2014) Convergence and Branded Content: How PR Has Changed Broad Reach Communications. Accessed 02/02/2016 from http://www.cision.com/ca-en/trends/convergence-and-branded-content-how-pr-has-changed/
Popkorn Communications (2015) Digitisation of Public Relations – How Things Are Evolving? Popkorn Research. Accessed 02/02/2016 from http://popkorncommunications.in/digitisation-of-public-relations-how-things-are-evolving/

 

 

 

 

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