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As indicated on our blog, I recently spoke at the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit(@MAMSummit) last week as part of a panel discussion on the “new realities” of PR.
Here’s my take on the topic: The contention that a wave of “new realities” are transforming the very essence of public relations is bogus. That’s right. It’s a distortion of epic proportions that diminishes the still-critical need for a fully integrated, effective campaign.
Skeptical? That’s fine. Because skepticism leads to good thinking skills. And it’s skepticism that has fueled my conclusions here about the following “new realities of PR” myths:
There’s no longer a “silver bullet” solution. This implies that a silver bullet once existed. As if a professional at a hi tech PR agency ever resorted to one, single tool to get messaging out. They never did. In past generations, we depended upon news releases, white papers, case studies, speeches, “exclusives,” op-eds, etc. to get the message out. Today, we’ve added on social media and other digital platforms. But we still pursue news releases, white papers, case studies, speeches, “exclusives,” op-eds, etc. to get the message out, as well as other content marketing. The cyber universe has simply given us new tools to deploy. But from its very beginnings, strategic PR has always been about a well-integrated campaign.
Platforms drive PR. No, they never have. The next time that a client tells me, “We haveto get on this platform now …” will be the first. Clients want to reach the right audiences. They don’t really care which platform gets them there. You also must deliver traction – meaning tangible results in the form of increased product/services awareness, customers and revenues. No one platform can serve as a “be all/end all” to satisfy these demands.
Email is dead. So is the press release. Really? Do you actually know B2B PR people who solely exist on social media? Show me one who does and I’ll show you someone who’s not taking full advantage of all the useful tools out there to connect their clients. This is especially important in the B2B space in which we operate here. Our clients are rolling out complicated and technical IT solutions that require a wealth of tools to both get the word out and effectively “tell the story” about the products/services. You can’t do that with just a tweet. An emailed press release fulfills that critical, function of getting an initial sense of media interest.
Do you still have doubts? Then attend a panel discussion of media members in which they discuss their preferred methods of getting contacted initially. I’ve attended many over the last couple of years. Across the board, these reporters and editors emphatically say, “Don’t contact me via social media. It’s far better to send a complete but succinct press release with a strong subject header via email.”
Writing doesn’t matter anymore. Yes, this myth is still getting trotted out there – by lazy PR people seeking shortcuts. Yes, writing is hard. But if you actually attempt to con yourself into concluding that basic fundamentals of written language – grammar, spelling, clarity, organization, etc. – aren’t relevant anymore within traditional PR and/or newer forms of content marketing, then you’re shortchanging clients. Not to mention projecting an unprofessional image in the way you present yourself and your firm.
In truth, the “real” new realities of PR are much like the old ones. It takes an agency with a total-communications approach to conceive and execute a fully integrated campaign to ensure the success of your messaging. If that’s what you’re looking for, feel free to check us out.
Evan Weisel is co-founder and principal at W2 Communications.