“The Fourth Industrial Revolution starts with one very important point: trust”, at least that is what Mark Benioff thinks. And who are we to argue with the CEO and founder of Salesforce.com? Not least because it opens up a lot of perspectives for our specialist field – Public Relations – and our core business: reputation management.

However, I would like to interpret ‘trust’ rather more freely. Instead, I would prefer to think of it as ‘credibility’: having the reputation not just to say what you are doing, but above all to do what you say. And be completely open about it. Because that is what people expect of businesses today. Concepts like honest, useful and sustainable are becoming more important than the quest for perfection.

A certain professional modesty seems to be called for, and is also finding its way into the marketing department. So we are gradually exchanging the term ‘thought leadership’ for a more modest objective, that of ‘trusted authority’. You always build a lasting reputation based on what you have delivered, not on what you have promised. More and more companies are adapting their ambitions accordingly. The focus is on sharing know-how, experience and understanding insights. And that is familiar ground for PR professionals.

Building reach

Many companies make ingenious products, dream up innovative solutions or can boast excellent service. They are sensitive to their employees, customers and the wider world, and do everything to create employment and value in a sustainable way. Not many companies are able to use that to boost their reputation.

PR people have been doing just that for a very long time. Traditionally, we record all those stories and customize them for the media. Interviews, press releases, opinion articles and the occasional press event are the main ways of doing this. And it brings our clients and their achievements some nice media coverage.

End of story? Not yet. These days, we have a lot of extra options to build on that reach. PR is more than Press Relations. We work on Public Relations, based on the PESO model.

PESO stands for Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned media. These are umbrella concepts for what can broadly be seen as online reach, via advertising, publicity, social media and in-house communication channels respectively. A modern PR campaign makes convenient use of these channels to increase the reach of the media coverage.

Just imagine: your company has appointed a new CEO. De Tijd had an exclusive interview with her, and that resulted in a fine portrait in the weekend newspaper ‘Winterwandeling’. That is already a really great (Earned) result, but nowadays, it doesn’t need to stop there. With the help of a bit of online advertising (Paid), social media (Shared) and in-house communication channels (Owned), you can boost that reach.

For example, by featuring the article in your in-house communication channels. You could even buy it and transfer it in full to your own website. Then you can direct extra traffic to it, by sharing the page on social media and actively promoting it (Paid). And of course, you can refer to it in the next newsletter or mailing.

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