Like our neighbours in England, the world of Public Relations (PR) in Wales has undergone significant changes over the past decade. These changes have been driven by shifts in technology, media landscape, and not forgetting communication trends, leaving the old traditional methods of PR work in the shadows.
Downfall of print
The biggest change is the demise of the traditional press as readership numbers have plummeted and audiences look elsewhere for their daily news and opinions from online spaces. Welsh newspapers have seen a continued decline in their print circulations. Since 2013 the Western Mail’s circulation has dropped from 25,435 to 6,119 in 2023 – a dramatic cut of 76% - more than three quarters.*
However, the traditional press and media landscape has evolved, and while newspapers and TV are still relevant, digital media outlets and online publications have gained importance. PR professionals now have to adapt their strategies to reach audiences through various media channels.
The new era of digital PR
The most profound change in PR over the past decade has been the digital transformation. PR professionals in Wales now heavily rely on digital tools and platforms for communication. Social media, email marketing, online press releases, and web content have become essential components of PR campaigns.
Social media has become a powerful tool for PR practitioners to engage with audiences. Everyday platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn are used for brand promotion, marketing, crisis management, and connecting with influencers and stakeholders.
As influencer marketing has gained prominence in Wales, influencer partnerships are one of the key weapons in the PR practitioners’ armoury, with PR practitioners collaborating with local influencers and micro-influencers to promote products, services, and events. It seems that these partnerships are seen as more authentic and relatable to target audiences and Joe Bloggs on the street.
What is more interesting is the number of job roles that did not exist a decade ago for new graduates to investigate. They range from digital executives who create digital content to social media managers who oversee digital campaigns and ensure social media schedules and posting are kept up to date.
Content is king
Content creation and marketing has become essential to PR strategies. It is crucial that brands and organisations are focused on producing high-quality content, including blog posts, videos, infographics and creative assets to engage with their target audiences and establish thought leadership. PR professionals now create high-quality, relevant content as a fundamental strategy for building and maintaining a positive image and engaging with audiences.
Achieving PR objectives through audience engagement with informative content, enhancing credibility and trustworthiness is key. Quality content is also important for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), driving audiences to websites and improving chances of appearing in search results, and increasing brand visibility. PR practitioners can then track the performance of content through metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, conversion rates and media mentions.
In recent years another branch of integrated PR campaigns has emerged with paid advertising. While the core principles of PR remain centered on earned media and building relationships, paid advertising now complements and enhances these efforts in several ways.
Within integrated campaigns PR professionals will incorporate paid advertising into their overall communication strategies. This integration allows for a unified and cohesive approach across earned, owned, and paid media channels.
Paid advertising across various platforms – GoogleAds, YouTube, Meta, OOH, Programmatic and DAX, allows PR campaigns to reach a broader and more targeted audience. It can be used to amplify key messages, particularly during critical moments or when timely communication is essential. PR teams can then use these features to reach specific demographics, interests, and behaviours, ensuring that their messages are delivered to the right audience segments.
Overall, paid advertising delivers measurable results, offering robust analytics and measurement tools. PR teams can track the performance of their paid campaigns, allowing for data-driven decision-making and optimisation.
Over the past decade, paid advertising has now evolved to become an integral part of modern PR strategies. PR professionals now use paid advertising to complement their earned media efforts, ensure precise targeting, reaching a broader audience, and therefore amplifying their messages.
In summary, the world of PR in Wales has evolved significantly over the past decade, with a strong shift towards digital communication, paid advertising, data-driven strategies, and an increased focus on diversity, sustainability and social responsibility in our digital age.
PR professionals are now required to be more agile, tech-savvy, and adaptable to stay competitive in the evolving PR landscape. Public Relations is no longer just about dealing with the press and media and writing press releases, it is a whole new ball game with integrated campaigns covering digital communications, paid advertising, marketing, design and content creation.
The teams involved to deliver any campaign from consumer to B2B is vast and roles include graphic designers, strategists, animators, social media managers, digital executives and creative copy writers to name a few. Gone are the days where you write a press release and issue to the journalists, PR professionals must think outside of the box and reach out to audiences from every way of life in every way necessary.
Written by Kate Williams
For more information or any further questions please contact Kate Williams on 07786 550054 or email email@example.com.
Notes to Editors
*Data from Kantar*
About Four Cymru
For the past 30 years, Four Cymru has been a leading creative, multidisciplinary bilingual communications agency in Wales; specialising in award winning branding and design, PR, marketing, digital media, public affairs and events management.
Part of the wider Four Agency Worldwide Group; a leading integrated agency with offices across the UK and the Middle East, Four Cymru delivers effective and impactful campaigns that are regional, national and international in scope. We were recently named by industry bible PR Week as the number 1 agency for public sector work for 2023.
Within Wales, our offices are located in both Aberystwyth and Cardiff, and our key consultants provide a truly pan-Wales reach. This ensures a deep knowledge of Wales’s regional nuances, media landscape, key stakeholders, people, language and culture – in both urban and rural areas.
Our core communications teams are accredited members of the CIM, CIPR as well as being members of the PRCA. This ensures that we are up to date on all communication best practices, and for many years, we have been using PR, creative content, digital advertising and social media marketing to communicate directly with audiences.