Modern PR: an Interview with Anar Askerov

Anar Askerov is a PR expert with more than 10 years’ experience. He is the founder and CEO of Plan B PR Agency and CEO of Report News Agency, which is one the largest news agencies in Azerbaijan.

As a PR expert, Askerov is increasingly focused on utilizing modern tools to help his clients control their messages, build true industry influence and protect their name or brand in the world of new media.

How did technological development influence PR

It is hard, even impossible to imagine that the rise of new media and the era of information explosion do not affect PR and its tactics today. The main objective of public relations is to deliver the company’s or an individual’s brand-specific message to the target audience. As such, PR’s main component is of course, information. In the past, information was communicated through traditional media channels like newspapers, magazines, television and radio, but today this process is also performed on social networks and influencers. Now we take into consideration not only a PR expert’s relationship with journalists, but also their involvement in the use of new tools under the PR concept.

What are differences between modern PR and traditional PR?

If we think about traditional PR, in most cases this issue covers only publishing press releases and building good relationships with the media. However, studies show that readers do not have a sufficient interest in the standard texts by the companies. The reason is that press releases are mostly designed like advertisements or announcements. In the new technological era, the duration of people’s attention distortion declines day by day. According to studies, the speed of attention distortion has dropped from 12 seconds to 4 seconds in 18 years. Of course, it significantly affects the plans built PR experts when delivering their messages to readers. Therefore, PR experts are now using new modern tools to communicate information to their readers. In other words, if people like to receive information in small portions, a PR expert should take these wishes into account while publishing information.

Today everyone can create and spread information, regardless of whether it is factual or fake news. This has changed the situation; now people are more interested in the opinion of third parties or influencers, rather than the information published by the companies in the press release. Obviously, companies have spent a lot of money in this direction for many years; they advertise their products via influencer marketing methods while trying to deliver their message to their target audience. I think this process will not last long, because followers have already begun to identify the advertisements done by bloggers and influencers in most cases. The first question that occurs to the follower is: ‘How much does the blogger earn to talk about this product?’

How does social media affect the distance between the brands and their audience and what is PR’s role in this process?

The opportunity to “have a say” by those in social networks brings brands closer to their audience. The PR teams must listen to these “says” and conversations to build a qualitative and durable relationship. The process for building the right relationship with the brand’s audience greatly depends on having the right analysis and presentation of all the issues that are discussed about the company in both online and offline environments by the PR team. So, the PR team ensures the right communication between the brand and its audience by organizing the listening process in the most accurate form.

How have innovations changed the members of the PR team?

Unlike a traditional PR team, a modern PR team includes new members, which is comprised of research analysts, SEO experts, designers, multimedia specialists and content managers.

Nowadays, we hear more about an individual’s name rather than the company name. Why has personal reputation management become so important?

Commercials are everywhere. When we decide to use the services of a particular person, we ask third parties and search online to help us make the right decision. It can be a dentist to take care of our teeth, a hairdresser for a new hairstyle, or a business partner or a specialist to fill a vacancy. Usually, we conduct our search via online platforms. Whether we will use the services of the person depends on the positive or negative links that we may see and read while searching. In other words, the first pages that come up in a Google search are really important.

Therefore, today, the importance of good reputation management has greatly increased. An individual must use the standards of personal reputation management as an integral part of PR in the right way for the proper provision of his services. Your online image must be relevant to all the standards. That is, we think twice before hiring the one who shares his videos having fun with friends on LinkedIn.

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