5 Ways PR Matters More Than Ever in Today's Energy Landscape


Energy Landscape stock

The essence of classical public relations has always been about trust and strong relationships with journalists. It takes time to know specific reporter’s beats and the editorial perspective and focus of each publication as well as to know the industry and understand what constitutes real news. These priorities are unchanged, as is the goal of gaining a share of voice for the client through coverage that is accurate and rooted in a deep understanding of the topic.

While these conventional values and goals remain the same, they’re now exercised in a new and ever-changing digital landscape. Here are five ways that PR creates added value for energy and utility companies:

Journalism stock 1

1.    Supporting True Journalism in the Digital Age

About two-thirds of Americans now get their news on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. Yet these outlets have struggled with misinformation and the number of viral “news” stories that later turned out to be untrue or partly untrue are myriad. This transition underlines the vital role of trained professional journalists. While the move to digital has shaken up the business model for the media, in other ways it offers greater visibility into reader engagement. For organizations seeking media coverage, being able to document its actual readership and to assess the tone of not only coverage but reader response to it, is a valuable and new asset.

In the energy industry, the small community of journalists, bloggers and influencers are often working with fewer resources and face tremendous challenges covering all that is happening in an industry changing in so many ways. PR professionals can help make connections, arranging interviews on background that can help journalists inform themselves, even if they’re not writing an immediate story. This also means they are equipped to respond faster and with more depth and accuracy when news does break. Professional PR folks can help foster these relationships – which are good for clients, too. No organization wants their first encounter with a reporter to be when something goes wrong! Ongoing relationship building and providing access to industry experts is a win-win for client and journalist alike. In the long run, it tends to lead to more of an organization’s intended messaging getting out there and having a chance to reach more of their target audience. However, coverage is never guaranteed, and it requires a combination of valuable news and an effective PR outreach strategy.

This lack of guarantee is what makes earned media so powerful.  The opportunity to work with respected journalists and be featured in their publications makes earned media one of the most powerful forms of coverage for PR professionals. Press releases remain a vital tool for any PR professional looking to get their news out, and they continue to be journalists’ primary way of finding stories. 

KPI stock

2.    Delivering Measurable Engagement

The digital age has given PR professionals more opportunities to prove their value than ever before. Traditional PR had limited, and at times imprecise, key performance indicators (KPIs) for practitioners to show the value of campaigns. Some of these KPIs include the average readership of a newspaper or magazine,or the estimated number of viewers of a broadcast news program. 

These KPIs are far less accurate than digital ones because they’re purely estimations. With digital marketing tools, you’re able to track exact data for various useful KPIs.

With tools like Google Analytics and the analytics tools on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, we have measurable KPIs to show the true value of PR tactics. According to W3Techs, Google Analytics is used by around 56 percent of all websites on the internet. Examples of digital KPIs include click through rates, accurate view counters, along with social media KPIs such as engagement and likes. 

crisis comm stock 2

3.    Proactive Crisis Communication

No industry or business is immune to crisis. PR professionals help prepare protocols for communications before a disaster strikes. Identifying spokespersons and training them ahead of time, prioritizing who should be notified first, unifying information and ensuring it is provided to the media and consumers accurately and in a timely way – all requires preparation and cannot be left to be sorted out amidst a crisis. As noted above, PR pros also help ensure that an organization is already known and understood to some degree in the journalist community long before trouble arises.

Digital and social outlets are vital communications channels even in ordinary times; in an outage or emergency, often these outlets are where consumers turn to know what to expect. Having a plan in place that includes social and internet outlets is vital for companies to interact with their stakeholders. 

Ability to listen stock

4.    Enhancing the Ability to Listen 

Consumer research, and the strategy of a “two-way street” approach to PR has been a part of the profession for a long time. Without conducting research to measure the outcomes of various strategies, it is difficult for a company to know how effective their efforts were, if at all.

Today, utilizing advancements in technology, PR professionals can conduct research more effectively than ever before. By leveraging email communication in conjunction with digital survey platforms, an organization can obtain quantitative and qualitative data to inform business strategy. This also helps keep a finger to the pulse of consumers’ attitudes towards your company’s product and messaging. Good research, when acted upon, can help companies avoid potential crises and mitigate problems to achieve future business goals.


owned media stock 2

5.    Navigating the Paid and Owned Media Landscape

Paid media is becoming more prevalent in today’s media landscape as publications look for new ways to adapt their business models. Sponsored or “native advertising” content can, and arguably must, play a role in engaging consumers, particularly in the energy industry where sales cycles are long and buying decisions depend on understanding complex subject matter. PR professionals that know the industry can help create content that not only accurately reflects these complex issues, but is also written in a way that has news merit and attracts readers amidst the hubbub of commercial content.

Having your own digital space where you control the content and messaging is a powerful tool for PR as well. According to Social Media Today, 71 percent of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. This clearly shows how utilizing tools like social media, blog posts and website content. Through the strategic use of these tools PR professionals can control their messaging carefully, ensuring brand cohesion while presenting their client as a thought leader. 

However, for owned media to succeed and provide value, you need a vigorous marketing strategy. Due to its lack of guarantee and long time to scale, owned media strategy must be innovative and carried out on a long-term basis.

Owned content, such as white papers and technical papers, provide customers and journalists alike with important perspective on complex issues. Content control is the biggest pro and con of owned media for an organization. The best advantage owned media offers is the level of content control PR professionals have. This allows for a message unfiltered by third parties. On the other hand, consumers can potentially view these media messages as biased. This is because it lacks the stamp of approval stories receive when filtered through credible news outlets or journalists. Creating content that is trustworthy, accurate and discloses authorship is a long-standing ethic upheld by the best of the public relations profession. Relying on trusted PR professionals can help ensure the credibility and value of your content to all readers.

Conclusion

Today’s PR tactics have evolved from traditional ones due to the technological advances brought about by the digital age. However, the main principle of ethically advocating on behalf of your client through gaining credibility is still very much alive today. The field of PR has simply adapted to the new tools technology has created.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

icon-callCall us at 404-583-0003