According to some, PR is a dying industry, and with the rise of the so-called “Everyday/Quotidian Journalist” (i.e. ordinary people using their smartphones to capture, share, and comment on everyday experiences), it certainly seems so.
In the Digital Age, Quotidian Journalists act as PR personnel, with businesses having much less influence in brand building than they did pre-internet. Efforts to create positive impressions of a business can backfire instantly. Consumers now have a voice and they can – and do – respond to PR efforts any way they please.
The rise of the Smartphones has led to the documentation of everyday life. We get our smartphones out for everything and we use social media platforms to spread the message instantaneously. Twitter’s been beating traditional news outlets for breaking news events for at least 10-years now.
PR is now a two-way street and it’s enough to put you off PR altogether. PR can backfire in spectacular ways…
…but brand awareness is important. You have to be present in the conversation if you want any chance of creating a narrative that works.
Is there a solution to the seemingly random and chaotic reactions by consumers to PR campaigns? Can we learn to enter the conversation in ways that can help, rather than hinder, brand awareness?
Maybe there is, and maybe it’s staring you right in the face: the people documenting their lives, grabbing everyone’s attention, making and breaking businesses, (i.e. the everyday journalists), are also the ones with the answer.
In other words, the quotidian journalist has things to teach businesses about PR.
Sure, this isn’t the PR they taught us in university, but IT IS an evolution of it, and it’s something we can use to inform our content strategies.
Taking a leaf from their book makes sense, but where to start?
The Quotidian Journalist Teaches PR How to Use Personality and Charisma
The popular profiles, the events that go viral (in terms of successful PR), all share something: a captivating personality. They are great at building rapport because they have a level of integrity in who they present themselves to be.
Your PR and content efforts will be in vain if you don’t know who you are as a brand. You won’t know how to talk or where to talk (i.e. brand voice and brand positioning). They’ll be a disconnection between your brand and your customers.
This might sound odd – How can something that isn’t alive have a personality? – but, your business will have traits that correspond to a personality and you need to use these to convey who you are.
E.g., an innovative and cutting-edge business should imagine its personality to reflect those traits. When they create content, they’ll do it with innovation in mind. They might create a TedTalk, or spend time talking to people in technology forums, etc.
Once you define your brand personality accurately, you can use this to drive your PR and content strategy.
The Quotidian Journalist Teaches PR How to Hook People’s Attention
Does modern life give you sensory overload? If yes, you’re not alone. There’s no shortness of information trying to capture our attention. No wonder we’re feeling frazzled.
The quotidian journalist has understood how to capture people’s minds. They can rise above the noise and the endless stream of information vying for our attention.
What can you learn from them as a marketer? The most important is to create very tight and highly focused messages that appeal to your market.
To do this, you need to understand exactly where in the sales funnel the particular piece of content you’re creating is landing. This way, you’ll know who you are talking to, why you are talking to them, and most importantly, HOW to talk to them.
By giving them exactly what they want and need, at exactly the moment they are looking for it, you can hook their limited attention with meaningful and relevant information.
The Quotidian Journalist Teaches PR How to Manage People’s Time Constraints
We seem to be busier than ever before, and although that might not be strictly true, it definitely feels like it!
The quotidian journalist understands implicitly how to manage people’s perception of time so they don’t feel their wasting it on meaningless content. They say as much as possible as quickly as they can.
When was the last time you went looking for information online and you had to wade through mountains of information before finding the answer? It happens all the time.
For content marketers, the task is to be succinct and to allow your readers to understand what you’re saying quickly and easily.
Use techniques to make your content more interesting and easier to understand:
A picture can say a thousand words
MIX UP YOUR WRITING TO DRAW ATTENTION TO KEY POINTS break it up with titles, bullet points. Highlight key points in bold. Emphasise with italics.
Find ways to make your writing “pop”.
The Quotidian Journalist Teaches PR to Interact with People
Finally, the internet creates two-way conversations between people and business. PR can no longer be about businesses projecting their brand image with zero input from the people they’re trying to influence.
Finding ways to interact and engage people is important. Creating a discourse and brand image together will help you grow in a direction your customers need.
Understanding which platforms your audience use(Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.,), and whether they’ll be happy to see you there, is vital.
Be careful how you approach this, though. You need to avoid the shambles that is #McDStories. Test your interactions on small audiences first!
The everyday journalist has plenty to teach us and these lessons will help PR flourish in the Digital Age.