Technology innovation has impacted every sector of business and society, every brand owner and consumer, every media house and public relations professional, says Nicole Spruijt.
Less than 20 years ago, the dominant form of communication was paper-based: from inter-office memos and staff announcements pinned to noticeboards to letters and compliment slips with hand-deliveries. Now in the internet age, email, social media and various mobile applications are the new normal and have predicated new rules for PR engagement.
1. Size counts
In a 140 character universe with limited attention spans, the new PR communicator is required to get to the point and quickly. One of America’s hottest magicians (and online stars) is a conjuror who uploads videos of his illusions to Vine which has a maximum duration of six seconds! In PR, we produce our content to grab attention and deliver our messages quickly. Bite/byte-size chunks are the order of the day.
2. Google rules
The news landscape is constantly changing, and as PR professionals we need to be on top of any potential stories which may affect our clients. Historically (which in our accelerated society means five years ago!) this would mean reading each and every newspaper, taping certain TV programmes, and constantly switching radio stations when driving the car to monitor what was being discussed. In today’s digitally-enabled PR world, Google Alerts led the way for a stream of search and monitoring tools enabling us to follow news in real time.
3. Lean forward
PR is a fascinating field where practitioners learn a great deal about numerous sectors according to the industry their client operates in. Furthermore, our job requires us to monitor the media in order to stay on the pulse and identify coverage opportunity deriving from the news agenda. A natural curiosity is an asset in PR but it also makes practitioners the kind of people you want on your team in a pub quiz challenge! Old PR needed to sit back, new PR leans forward.
4. Be mindful
One of my mentors once told me that we are there to make our clients’ lives easier. This has stuck with me throughout my career, what (I think) she meant is that our clients too have deadlines, performance targets and bosses. Our role is to ease some of their stress and allow them time to focus on tasks that are core to their jobs.
In a similar vein, the media too have deadlines, specific content requirements and bosses. It was true then and it’s true now – don’t inundate the media with 500 press kits. Un-focused releases won’t be read which means that your client won’t receive the coverage – use technology to target your media outreach. You will have happy clients.
The Rules may have changed but the end goal remains the same!
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