Digital Britain Report Will Make PR Sector Think More Digital
With the release of the government’s Digital Britain report this week, it comes at a timely juncture in the industry of public relations, where new technology tools are increasingly being used for communications campaigns, far more than in past years. While the main highlights of the report address infrastructure needs, improving digital access for all and controversial funding decisions for media resources such as the BBC and Channel 4, the ensuing discussions of the report have put digital on the intellectual radar for all, including those crafting PR strategy in what is more and more a fractured, niche-driven digital media landscape.
Previously, and still today, traditional PR professionals, and clients, have been reluctant to include digital media in their outreach strategy, among some excuses being:
- Our clients don’t care about blogs, they only want to be in the Financial Times.
- We don’t have the budget or time to manage online outreach, as well as traditional media outreach.
- Why should we care about what someone says in a forum or a tweet about our brand?
Now, partly by force as a result of high profile cases such as Amazon experienced with bloggers and Twitter, or Domino’s experienced with employees posting inappropriate YouTube videos, partly because of recessionary budget restraints on PR budgets, and partly because it seems that the tipping point of mainstream involvement in social networking has been reached (Oprah Winfrey is on Twitter!), it seems digital has snowballed into a force that must be reckoned with — like it or not.
The government’s Digital Britain report addresses many issues, and its recommendations are controversially being debated among many industries, but one of the key things it does is further force digital into the forefront of public attention and gives it a new level of credibility among businesses who may have previously scoffed at the online world.
For many years now I’ve been an advocate of using digital media for communications outreach and have advised many clients in how to incorporate new technology tools into campaigns, often being met with a mix of disbelief as to if it would be a worthwhile investment, and general befuddled ness as to what I’ve been talking about. It seems the whole wide world is now turning new attention to using digital media, and this, I think, is exciting and positive both for people and bussinesses.
While many of us who can be classified as early adopters of the digital age are already well established or have even moved onto the next new thing with tools like Audioboo for the iPhone, FriendFeed, Su.PR and the coming soon Google Wave, we’ve all got to remember that there are millions of newbies from all walks of business and humanity that are just testing out the tools of the online world, with a bit of intimidation and fear.
It is is up to us, who are deeply online, to welcome, to teach and to help newocmers navigate this territory. It may be your family members, your co-workers or even your boss, who have basic questions, and if the government is going to see any success from its Digital Britain report, it is up to everyone who is already active online to be friendly mentors and teachers in helping the rest of the world catch-up with digital life. Yesterday, after reading over the report, it seemed to be a 200+ page document stating a lot of the obvious. However, these last few weeks, I’ve got more and more people both professionally and personally asking me questions about the basics of how to use Twitter, how to write a blog, how to manage the weird professional/personal world of Facebook, and what might seem obvious to some, just isn’t to most.
Recently I’ve also joined the ranks of being a trainer with Pinnacle PR, a company providing all levels of communications training. My role is instructing a course in PR 2.0, providing a comprehensive look at the many multimedia digital media tools available online, and giving real-life workshops in how to construct campaigns with the tools. With the release of Digital Britain this week, I’m seeing more of the increasing importance digital is playing for business, and, based on training and conversations with people, understanding more that it is still, in fact “new” media for most people.
If you are in PR, and would like to increase your skills of PR 2.0, or other offerings from Pinnacle PR (including traditional courses of media training, media relations, crisis communications, strategic campaign planning and more) sign up for a course, and get a 10% discount up until the end of July. Pinnacle PR has offices in London, Brussels, Dubai and a newly opened training centre in Bahrain, where experienced instructors both from the media and public relations sectors provide junior up through senior level executive courses and instruction.
Training for the digital future,