In the mid-nineteenth century, an electrical pulse sent from Britain traversed the English Channel to fire a cannon in Calais, France – a dramatic demonstration that marked the successful installation of the world’s first undersea telegraph cable, connecting Britain to mainland Europe.
Fast-forward some one hundred fifty years after The Channel Cable’s inaugural transmission and there’s no debate, today’s state of global communication is nearly unrecognizable from its humble origins.
The “digital age” has afforded us, the global community, unfettered access to information, to opportunities and to one another. But we can’t forget the humble, provincial beginnings of the Internet and how it was used by media professionals – from sourcing new information from the public via chatrooms and blogs, to a whole slew of new media start ups challenging the traditional channels.
Nevertheless, the point is this: getting local coverage for a global story isn’t as simple as we acolytes of the digital revolution are inclined to presume.
Who reports on international issues?
But we are safe in concluding that yes, the necessary infrastructure to accomplish this exists. For many media organizations, there is a preference that any media coverage of a company, individual, or cause should only be done by their correspondent in that country or region. The problem? Due to sweeping budget cutbacks at most newspapers, these people sometimes no longer exist, and when they do, often the breaking news stringer is not the right person to speak about doing a larger investigative production.
Our modern Internet accessibility, by way of countless satellites, radio towers, and yes, even submarine communications cables, transmits our news media, social media feeds, podcasts and radio shows on a scope and scale like never before.
But if there’s one thing these nuts and bolts can’t provide you, it’s a Voice.
Know your message and bring value
Public relations and strategic communications are the keys to unlocking your organization’s Voice. And a public-facing communications strategy, adapted to the tools available, can ensure that your organization’s message reaches its target audiences quickly and effectively.
This rings especially true when connecting local audiences to global stories. Public relations and strategic communications are mechanisms for extracting and adjusting a message’s content, and repackaging it in a voice engineered specifically for your audience.
Though while adapting your organization’s message is one thing, planting a message that’s well received and circulates organically is a whole separate beast.
Public relations and strategic communications, when designed and executed correctly, are effective means of achieving that end – constructing a voice and message that cultivates earned media coverage and impacts your audience.
An organization’s content may be tailor-fit to an audience’s senses in a way that ensures organic, earned media.
To make public relations successful, an organization must first possess two things: an accurate sense of self and an authentic understanding of your audience. After all, earned media is built on reciprocity as much as it is ingenuity and acumen.
Once an organization fulfills these two prerequisites, a thorough public relations campaign may be deployed.
A typical public relations and strategic communications campaign may encompass content consulting, website design and development, opinion media drafting and placement, social media campaigning, and of course, relationship building with traditional media.
Should a global story be given a snowball’s chance of reaching local audiences, then it must be supported by a public relations strategy that considers the content of the message, the nature of the voice, and the most appropriate method of connecting, whether that’s opinion media placement or social media campaigns.
Public relations is a complex, meticulous and demanding endeavor for any organization. Ensuring that your message and voice represent your organization’s mission, product or news accurately to its audience is of upmost importance.
In 19th century Europe, the debut of The Channel Cable revolutionized global communications. Prior to the era of that landmark achievement, the suggestion that an organization consider local audiences when designing their message’s content, connotation and method of delivery would likely have been preposterous.
But this revolution in global communications technology has wrought a parallel evolution in the way in which we communicate. And with the contemporary rate of technological innovation, organizations will continue to be required to adapt their voice, their message and the tools with which to connect to their local audiences.