by Michael O'Neill
September 26th, 2012

Believe the hype – mobile is a big deal. There are over six billion mobile phone connections on the planet so far, with about half of those in Asia – and that estimate is from the beginning of 2012.

The number of people using mobile phones alone makes mobile a big deal. Throw in the expanded capabilities of modern smartphones as well as non-phone mobile devices (or tablets, if you prefer), and things get interesting. These are devices that have amazing technology built right in — cameras, GPS – as well as powerful computers and access to the internet. It’s no surprise that these days the news is full of mobile-related material, whether it’s another volley in the endless Android/iOS war or the announcement of some new mobile twist to an existing service.

While it may seem that mobile and public relations have not had the same amount of attention, the fact is that many PR practitioners are already making use of mobile, and have been for quite a while. Many of the advantages of mobile lend themselves very well, and can make it easier to reach out to others, as well as making the day-to-day work of public relations a little easier.

The nature of the job requires a high level of contact with clients and the media: there are few PR people out there who aren’t adept at staying on top of things using voice communication, SMS messages, and email – look around any industry event and you can still see people holding their Blackberries. That range of options has broadened considerably, to include instant messenger (standalones, or ones that connect to their desktop counterparts) and even video chat facilities, should the need arise.

Those practitioners who work in the digital and social media spaces will find that it is almost as easy to engage or maintain online communities and manage pages while mobile. Mobile lends itself to the creation of online content — for example, live-blogging directly from special events, or recording video and dropping it directly into YouTube. Mobile also lends itself to monitoring, with dashboard apps making it possible to keep tabs of online performance metrics and other analytics in near-real time.

While there may not yet be apps specifically for the public relations professional, there are already many benefits to be had from going mobile. For a profession that’s all about communication, and deftly adapting to changing situations, mobile can be a useful tool. Many PR people probably already use some of these functions already, but as the medium matures it seems likely that there will soon be more that they can add to their arsenal.

Rohit Dadwal is managing director, Mobile Marketing Association Asia Pacific

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