Many things change with the publicist. Technology. Social media. Changing attitudes toward communications. These forces have all changed the way public relations, as an industry, operates, and they’re probably the biggest deciding factors in how public relations operates today, compared to yesterday. What does the evolution of public relations and the publicist look like?
NO MORE SNAIL MAIL
The act of faxing out (or even mailing) news/press releases is just about as obsolete as taking pictures with a film camera. It’s an inefficient process that nobody uses anymore. Instead, PR professionals are using mediums that are virtually free, like email and social media. PR firms don’t have to pass these extra costs for time along to clients. This enables them to offer their services more efficiently. PR firms no longer have to account for lag time in sending out information. In the digital age, information goes out and connects with the intended audience immediately. Journalists are adept at using their social media tools to spread the word quickly. There is no more waiting for the morning edition of the newspaper to come out – they’re getting it out to their audiences as quickly as they can type it. An added benefit: social media tools are trackable.
The divide between journalists and the publicist is narrowing. Years ago, journalists who “jumped ship” and took a job with a PR firm would often be referred to as having joined the “dark side.” That’s not the case any longer. There is now greater interaction between journalists and PR personnel. They each watch what the other has to say on Twitter and work symbiotically. PR strategies involve multiple avenues to send a targeted message which are very quick avenues. There are many places online where the traditional news/press release can get good play. PR pros are also reaching out to bloggers, as well as journalists. Releases are getting out on social media sites, and are followed up by opportunities to interact with the audience, share in conversation and glean information that can affect PR campaigns immediately.
MORE AND MORE CONNECTED
The migration to smart phones has had a big impact on the publicist, and has also helped the industry evolve. The phone is definitely not just for making calls anymore. PR professionals use mobile devices to connect to a vast audience that is constantly checking their emails and social media sites. The mobile devices are also being used by this audience to retweet, reply to and forward information they find interesting. Connecting to them in this way is a part of almost every public relations strategy. Many public relations strategies today involve writing regular blogs that fill the same space. Blogs that create content, but are written by PR firms, go a long way in driving traffic and resonating with a wider audience. This is also a much more interactive means of communicating with the audience; they have a chance to weigh in on topics and feel a connection with the brand.