Managing your reputation in a digital age

By Ollie Barnes, of David Barnes Public Relations, Newport

Published in The Business

As published in issue 2 of The Business, a magazine publisheb by the South Wales Argus. Main image shows an advert we took out in the Newport County programme when they played Spurs in the FA Cup at Rodney Parade 


The way we see news is ever changing.
You may have heard this many times by now, but that’s because it’s true. Finding out about what is going on in the world is no longer just about reading the newspapers once a day, or turning on the TV at six o’clock.
Yes, these are both platforms which remain very important in the industry, but the likes of internet news and social media have become just as, if not more, important.
That is why, if you are a business owner, you need to make sure you are reaching all of your potential clients through the most efficient use of public relations.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the national body which oversees the industry, describes the practice as: ‘… the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and
its public’.

‘If I was down to my
last dollar, I would
spend it on public relations’
Bill Gates


Therefore, it is important to make sure that the reputation of a business or
individual is shown to be a good one on all platforms – most notably, these days, being the internet and social media platforms.
Anything published on the internet is more or less there for ever so, as a PR
agent, you must ensure a good reputation is maintained come what may.
The popularity of the internet as a source of news is only increasing. In an
Ofcom survey published in June 2017, it was found that 48 per cent of
adults in the UK said they use the internet as their source of news. That was an increase from the previous year, when it was 41 per cent.
Additionally, three in ten adults in the UK said they now use a mobile phone for news.
That tells us that more and more people are getting news wherever they go, instantly, through the use of all forms of digital media.
The most successful PR agencies will use this changing news environment to their advantage. Through the utilisation of social media especially, they will help to make sure that the public will see what you, as a business owner, organisation or individual, want them to see.
This will ultimately increase your audience, further your business goals and visibility in one way or another.
Now, this is not to say that ‘older’, more traditional sources of news should be phased out as a place for PR agencies to promote businesses. On the contrary, in fact. In order to have the most successful strategy, all media platforms must be utilised. After all, you are trying to reach the largest amount of people you can.
Another thing to mention is that each story for each business is different, so you can’t necessarily put the same stories in the same place every time and expect the same results.
It’s important to know exactly what you are trying to say in a story, who you want to see it, and what platform they are most likely to be using for news.
A common misconception is that PR and advertising are the same thing.
The two disciplines may hold certain similarities, but they are still rather different.
Advertising is creating paid advertisements to be shown and promoted via various types of media. However, PR is more of a communication between businesses and the public that helps to build mutually beneficial relationships while, as mentioned earlier, upholding the reputation of said business,
organisation or individual.