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Digital content is shaking up roles in corporate PR

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Content creation now goes beyond the traditional communications such as white papers, press releases or newspaper Op-eds to include engaging videos, GIFs, or infographics on the corporate websites. FILE PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH

The traditional model of corporate communications is undergoing a massive shake-up and perhaps quicker than many would have anticipated.

Fast advancing technology means that corporates are increasingly dealing with more empowered audiences on multiple digital and social channels.

Unlike before when corporate communications teams took advantage of links with a dominant traditional print media to control content through a top-bottom approach, the rise of digital and social media has flipped the game.

They are now faced with a situation popularly referred to as “naked company syndrome” whereby they have no control of content and information and must therefore directly address their stakeholders on an almost real-time basis.

This situation has marked a turning point for corporates, most of which are now redefining the skillset and job description for their corporate communication teams.

For example, corporates such as Safaricom, Nestle, and Nike, among others, have recently created and reinforced special positions of content generation units to handle digital storytelling and bolster advocacy of their strategies across a wide range of digital and social channels.

These content management roles notably came with requirements of specific skill sets such as writing and editing, which are critical in advocacy and client engagement.

In the new order, content creation now goes beyond the traditional communications such as white papers, press releases or newspaper Op-eds to include engaging videos, GIFs, or infographics on the corporate websites.

Some corporates are no longer fully reliant on the legacy media platforms to carry their stories and are instead developing content for their websites and social media platforms in a bid to connect better with their target audiences.

As such, content has thus become king in corporate communications, and firms, including public relations agencies, are now scrambling to assemble teams of communicators who can write well or produce high-quality audio-visual as well infographic material that breakdown complex and technical issues into clear and compelling messages.

This shift has seen trained writers, journalists, and data analysts increasingly being absorbed into corporate communications roles to help organisations sharpen their advocacy and audience engagement campaigns.

The incorporation of trained writers and data analysts comes with a double advantage of accurate and moderated messages to limit the negative threats of scepticism by target audiences.

In an era of fake news, most of the content randomly uploaded online by corporates have faced rejection due to misconception as propaganda hence the input of professional writers and data analysts helps to inject objectivity in messaging through the use of neutral language, well-researched statements of fact and supporting data to win the confidence of audiences.

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