Last week Econsultancy published an interesting article entitled The changing state of PR. Sit down and have a read through if you have a moment - it makes a few interesting points. It talks mainly in terms of PR on social media, but I think a few of their takeaways can be applied more broadly to PR as a whole: 1) It's a two way street - The public don't expect just to be talked/advertised/sold at anymore, they want and expect to be able to talk back. The explosion of the internet changed the way PR is conducted, and it has morphed further with the advent of social media. You and your brand need to have a two way conversation with your audience. Be responsive and be agile!
2) Monitor, compare, analyse - There are a wealth of tools available now to monitor what's being said about your brand across the media - social and otherwise. Don't sit back and expect something to work. Constantly monitor the progress and success of a campaign or strategy and if it's not going how you imagined - do something about it. Compare your stats to your competitors' or even to your own previous campaigns and make sure you're being the best that you can be.
3) Don't ignore the complainers - Handling negative publicity is one of the most important skills in PR. Having strategies in place before crisis hits makes them much easier to deal with and helps with damage limitation. Timing is key here - if you get some negative mentions on Twitter don't spend days or even hours deciding what to do about them, but have a plan ready to execute when the worst happens. Take conversations offline where you can - sometimes spurned customers just want a person-to-person conversation to reassure them that someone other than a machine actually cares about what's happened.