Public Relations in the Age of Participation

You’ve heard of the age of likes and shares, the age of memes, the age of selfies, and more. 

Now, welcome to the age of participation.

In the age of participation, the well-known engagement metric may no longer be enough. What is your brand doing to get your audience to buy-in? What are you doing to get your audience to be part of your brand?

We’ll help you answer that: your brand should be maximizing ePR.

What is Digital PR (ePR)?

Before even asking for participation, it’s important for brands to understand what ePR is.

The concept of PR goes way back to the early 20th century, where people only thought of it as press agentry or having more exposure in the media. As The Princeton Review said, “A public relations specialist is an image-shaper. Their job is to generate positive publicity for their client and enhance their reputation.”

Today, PR extends from newspapers, TV, and radio, into the digital world of social media, influencers, search engine rankings, and brand content strategy. ePR also extends reach, and how likely people are to find you.

And here’s why establishing good PR is important to get your audience to participate with your brand:

  1. Good PR is good engagement.

A core fundamental of PR is genuine engagement. Positively engaging with stakeholders, including the public, your target audience, and the media, helps create an authentic and favorable image. When people see this genuine good, they will want to participate more and ask ‘how can I be part of that?’

  1. Good storytelling is good PR.

According to an article by Forbes, people are”22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story… because stories are memorable.” The article also states that when both the left and right brain are satisfied with factual data and an emotionally-compelling story, audiences are ignited to act. Setting up a participatory call-to-action in your ePR releases could be impactful for your brand.

  1. Good PR can get you through a crisis.

As per the Institute for Public Relations, “in crisis management, the threat is the potential damage a crisis can inflict on an organization, its stakeholders, and an industry.” Good PR can help manage and combat impending crises for your brand, especially when this reputation has been built over time. When your audiences have previously participated in your brand prior to experiencing a crisis, this audience may even become your brand allies. (All the same, brands are reminded to carefully analyze and predict public reaction to any PR you release!)

  1. Good PR means good relationships.

Just like any other relationship, the one your brand has with its many stakeholders — from the audience to the media to the public to the internal team itself — should be maintained and taken care of. Again, a genuine brand that truly reaches out to its audience and truly cares about what it’s doing (and the impact it makes on society at large), reaps a following that also truly cares about it. says “establishing your network will take time, but those relationships will help you in a myriad of ways, for years to come.” This is one of the most crucial components in public relations, and if you do this right, you can reap the benefits of it in the long run.

So, what is YOUR brand doing to encourage audiences to participate?

If you’d like to know more about how you can generate PR that generates participation for your brand, contact NGP-IMC today.