Over the years PR has had to keep up with the times of the ever changing industry. For this insight blog I am going to look into how PR has evolved and how the digital revolution has changed it for the better.
No internet, no emails…
Back in the day there was no such thing as emails. It was all about sending letters to your desired media list that you would have spent ages researching and constructing. Press releases were the desired form of communication and, being no more than five paragraphs long, they were straight to the point with promotional content and key messages. After the press release was sent, PR’s would follow up with a phone call or a meeting to discuss further.
If you wanted to send images to accompany your press release, you would use transparencies. Half the time these were rather time consuming and costly, but unavoidable until the times of Dropbox and email attachments.
Looking back, sending a press release seemed like such a long-winded process. You had to have your letters ready for 5pm each day to give to the postman and as there was no such things as websites the post wouldn’t only be full of press releases, but newsletters and company brochures too.
The Digital Revolution…
Over the years, PR has grown so much and with the introduction of the worldwide web it has opened a lot of doors for the PR industry and allowed us to explore different avenues of telling a story.
Whilst press releases are still a big part of PR, the digital revolution means we can tell stories with more than just words. Infographics, microsites and videos are all creative ways to entice and not only get the attention of a journalist but the attention of a reader too. Post has become a thing of the past and emails have become the main source of communication.
The internet has opened a lot of doors and given PR’s greater access to journalists. What with the majority of people having some kind of social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, you are able to message even celebrities at the touch of a button.
The digital revolution has given the public a platform to share with celebrities and influential people that they never would have had access to before. If a journalist is looking for someone to be part of a story, in the form of being a case study, they can simply use the hashtag #journorequest and anyone and everyone can get in touch to talk about whom they are or who their client might be and see if the two can work together. PR’s also use social media to look for case studies or slide into the DM’s of journalists for a more direct approach, especially handy if they haven’t got back to you by email.
It’s all about links, not print coverage
Clients used to be all about the print coverage, whereas nowadays as companies create their own websites they are looking to promote themselves differently and care more about things like search engine optimisation (SEO) and how they can drive additional traffic to their website. Print coverage is still important, but a lot of brands and companies are looking for far more online coverage and a link back to their site, if there's no link, it basically doesn't count. Oh, how times have changed!
Online Tools and Media Monitoring
PR’s no longer need to spend hours researching journalists for a target media list, it is all available online using tools such as ResponseSource where the majority of journalists’ details are all there at the touch of a button. You can simply search relevant key words that are related to certain topics and it will bring up the journalists who write about that topic and what they specialise in. It is also easy to get updates on when journalists change their job role or receive a promotion. Media sites are often updated or send around industry emails so you can constantly keep your media lists up-to-date and journalists don’t get sent the wrong press release or information. Not only that, we now have access to media monitoring so if you are expecting coverage for a client it is automatically sent to you via the media monitoring system if you have your keywords set up correctly – you’ll will never miss a piece of coverage again.
A lot of stories become viral thanks to social media and this is why the likes of photo and video content are so important - readers no longer want to sit and read pages and pages of information. They learn and engage through stories that are visually pleasing, so video content and the likes of online tools or microsites have become a part of the digital revolution and changed the way PR’s tell stories and are able to provide viral content on behalf of clients.