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3 Reasons Real Time Is Relevant to PR

Real time tends to be associated with marketing – in no small part thanks to the quintessential Oreo “moment” – but the tactic perhaps more appropriately belongs to PR practitioners.

Real-Time PR

PR pros often are better able to respond in the “now” than their marketing counterparts. They study trends, topics and keywords and know how to insert themselves into conversations. They also are much more aware of the abbreviated news cycle.

1. Response time

Response Time - Real Time PR

PR typically handles media and influencer relations, which means they know how to work within the shortened and fleeting news cycle. They understand how to pitch both the media and influencers with timely, relevant content.

They also know that their messages have to strike the right audience at the right time. Writing a blog post riffing on a theme from last season’s “Walking Dead” is an almost surefire way to see the content flop. Writing a theme based on the most recent episode – if it’s appropriate to their brands – could be highly successful.

Think of it this way: if you discovered a breaking news story on Twitter, who would you call to the scene? You’d probably call your PR team because it knows the best and fastest ways to get to and handle the “scene.”

Want more tips for doing real-time PR? Register for Alissa Blate’s free “Make the Most of Your PR With Real-Time Tactics” webinar now!

2. Established contacts

Rolodex - Contacts  Real Time PR

As marketing is to target audiences, so is PR to media contacts and influencers. The two departments sometimes overlap when it comes to the people they try to reach, but, generally speaking, PR still primarily is about establishing rapport and maintaining relationships with the media, influencers and stakeholders.

That isn’t to say marketing isn’t helpful when it comes to real time; events like the World Cup and the Oscars prove the case for real-time marketing. It’s just that PR can sometimes gain greater mindshare with both targeted audiences and the Internet at large because they have the means and contacts to do so.

3.Processes and procedures

Tin can phone - Real Time PR

The PR department is home to many protocols, processes and procedures, often because it’s the team charged with handling internal and external communications. It often houses communication crises – both large and small – plans, too, which are created for real-time communication emergencies like the intern swearing on Twitter or a product failing to arrive on time or to work once it arrives.

All those processes and procedures could make for a clunky, turtle-paced PR department, but the processes usually are intended to remove unnecessary approval processes and hasten responses. To return to the breaking news “scene,” the PR team arrives before marketing not only because they’re familiar with the abbreviated news cycle but also because they’ve established parameters for how to work within it.

What do you think? Is real time relevant to PR?

Don’t forget to sign up for Alissa Blate’s webinar for even more real-time PR tactics! It’s free!

Image: Michael Pollack, Ian C, Ged Carroll, Chris Potter (Creative Commons)

About Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is the director of editorial services at Tenacity5 Media. When she isn’t researching, writing, and editing blog posts and white papers, she writes poetry and essays, draws her favorite Write Right character, and plans what art form to study next. She’s based in Austin, Texas and can be found on Twitter @erinmfeldman.

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