What’s next for PR and marketing firms in the GCC?
To meet the demands of the digital age, global organizations and businesses including those in the GCC region, are investing more on digital transformation. Across all sectors and industries, the rising demand to be digitally prepared doubled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Daily activities ranging from business operations to public relations have moved to the digital world.
As the Arab countries work to diversify their economies and recover from the impacts of the pandemic, investment on digital innovations grew and immensely benefited businesses. Many companies accelerated their digital transitions including in their public relations and marketing strategies. With the increasing e-commerce and use of digital platforms, trends in digital PR and marketing are also on the rise.
There are numerous digital PR and marketing trends nowadays, and here are some of the notable ones.
Social Media as a tool
According to a report published this year by The New Media Academy, the UAE recorded the highest number of social media users regionally, with an average of 10 accounts per person on various social media platforms. This rise in social media users can be optimized by Digital PR agencies in the Middle East
for better brand visibility and positive image building. Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media applications function as PR and marketing medium. Orient Planet Group (OPG), for instance, leverages these social media applications alongside traditional channels for optimal brand exposure. Digital PR agencies are using search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, social media and influencer marketing as part of their strategies. There is also the notable shift of news agencies from print to websites and social media accounts. One press release sent to a media outfit can now be distributed using more platforms in addition to the traditional channels, reaching a wider audience and gaining more engagements.
Influencer, game changer
Perhaps one of the strategies that appeal to the younger audience is the presence of influencers and bloggers in digital PR, marketing and advertising. As the name suggests, they influence people to believe and buy the idea and product they are promoting. In the GCC, most of these influencers use Instagram to promote products, ideas, and lifestyle to their followers. Digital marketing in the UAE
can take advantage of this trend. Influencers and bloggers with high number of audiences can help a digital PR specialist attract engagement to a client’s website, for example. Aside from reaching to journalists, bloggers and influencers can also provide coverage for a brand.
Monitor and measure
For a PR campaign to be effective, a feedback is a must. In traditional PR, it is difficult to track insights and feedbacks. For instance, how many people read your release in a magazine? In contrast, digital PR utilizes tools to track and measure the success of a campaign. Media monitoring helps brand gain some control of their campaigns. PR and marketing strategists can search key words and phrases to gather information about their campaign and how customers feel about it.
Traditional PR vs Digital PR
Digital PR is tailored on the same principles as traditional PR, but with different strategies. Coverage and readership are still the focus but ways to achieve them differ and has evolved. In traditional PR, agencies aim to secure frontpage coverage to gain higher readership. In contrast, most online news media have no cost barrier, allowing digital PR to have a wider read. Both approaches have pros and cons, and one should not disregard that the content of the PR and marketing campaign holds greater value.
With the accelerating digital transformation in the UAE
and other GCC countries, PR firms, agencies and consultants are also innovating. But whether digital PR is better than traditional is not a question. It is about having more tools and options to use in your campaign. What matters most is you know your goals, and choose which tool is appropriate for your campaign.
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