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Opinion - Organisations must invest in digital public relations

2022-07-21  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Organisations must invest in digital public relations

Albertina Kashuupulwa

The interaction between organisations and the public is highly impacted by technological advances. 

Throughout the years, public relations have adapted and evolved to cater to the needs of the public. 

Digital public relations, also known as e-PR or public relations, is the latest concept in corporate reputation management.

Digital PR is a practice through the new information communication technologies (ICTs). 

It is computer-mediated and highly creative, strategic, fast, result-oriented and affordable. 

In his report, Simon Kempa states that there were 857 000 social media users in Namibia by January 2022, which was equivalent to 32.8% of the total population of 2.61 million. 

This usage paints a picture of the growing uptake of social media usage in the country. 

As it is already known, the internet has not only changed the world radically but also the roles, functions and tasks PR has undergone – an evolution from the traditional to the digital era. 

According to Alfelia Parmatasari (2021), the evolution of PR started in the 1.0 era, where print media was the only mainstay in the distribution of information. 

This era was followed by the PR 2.0 era, which gave birth to online media – and immediately, the birth of the 3.0 era of PR gave birth to digital media, which is the media that is currently most used, liked and most trusted by the public. 

In light of the above, we are still expected to move towards the PR 4.0 era, where PR competes with robots that are not only able to write press releases but also predict strategic steps an organisation needs to take regarding the phenomenon or issue at hand. 

For organisations to keep up with the public’s growing consumption of information digitally and move as per the evolution of the PR cascade, PR practitioners must also bring their part and begin disseminating information, using different Internet-based methods, tools and channels to create a greater online presence and visibility for their organisations. 

While the Namibian nation is still in the process of transitioning from the traditional ways of accessing information, organisations should try to maintain a balance between the use of traditional and modern ways of disseminating information to ensure they do not lose clients in the process. 

Some of the modern information dissemination strategies that could be used to supplement the already-used traditional strategies include but are not limited to the use of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, online websites, blogs, the use of influencers, podcasts as well as sharing of online videos.

Investing in digital PR helps organisations to achieve strategic objectives effectively and smoothly. 

When digital PR is used effectively, information disseminated can reach a wider target audience at a faster pace – and this will positively impact brand reputation. 

Effective management of the organisation’s digital platform through meaningful engagements and prompt responses could result in a strong, long-term relationship with the target audience.

In addition, digital PR activities can easily be measured. 

Organisations can make use of different digital PR metrics, such as Google Analytics, to measure the effectiveness of their digital PR work and improve where performance needs to be boosted. 

Furthermore, almost every organisation has invested in a website, “which people hardly visit unless there are open vacancies they are interested in”. 

With the use of digital PR, the website traffic can easily be boosted and invite more visitors to the webpage.

Moreover, with a digital PR team specialising in creating engaging content, impartial reviews will also nurture the organisation’s brand image over time and build brand trust. 

Finally, what everyone wants to see is sales; a digital PR campaign is aimed at generating leads.

Quality content on your website and other pages will channel those leads and turn them into paying customers.

A communication specialist should not only see this new technology as a sales tool but consider how this technology can be used in more “influential” activities, such as building relationships, solving problems, crowdsourcing and improving design quality.


*Albertina Kashuupulwa is a PhD candidate and a communication and digital marketing professional. She writes in her personal capacity.

2022-07-21  Staff Reporter

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