PR: Then vs. Now

Taci Clay

Public Relations used to be about the newspaper boy yelling “Extra! Extra!” as he ran down the street, journalists trying to rely on word of mouth for stories, and experts relying on rolodexes to mail a journalist they worked with before.

If we tried to do our job in Public Relations 30 years ago, we would be absolutely clueless. Mail has turned into emails and tweets, reporters have turned into bloggers, and face-to-face meetings have turned into 10-minute phone calls. The processes of PR have changed so much because of advances in technology. PR has always worked in the competition of timeliness and the changes have caused PR to work in a way we never thought was possible.

The introduction of the internet was the turning point for PR – it made every aspect in PR work so much faster than before. It brought emails, blogs, and social media to the PR platform and we couldn’t go back if we tried. This new PR lets us create actual relationships rather than just putting our information out there and hoping to succeed.

The idea of faxing or mailing a press release is ancient history now that we have email and social media. With the internet, we can efficiently research and target exactly who we want our information to go out to. Once we have our targets, we work quickly to make connections and build the relationships that are needed for our success through social media platforms and email.

We aren’t the only experts in PR that are benefitting from these changes. Journalists love this. Just like us, journalists take advantage of what social media has to offer in the PR world. According to a study from Cision:

  • 89% said they turn to blogs for story research
  • 65% use social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn
  • 52% turn to Twitter and similar services

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These changes have brought journalist and us PR experts closer and it’s easier to work together so they have their story and we have our coverage.

Along with these changes, we have been blessed with Twitter. For everyone in PR, Twitter is the goldmine. Journalists will often ignore phone calls and emails because of their busy schedule, but now it’s common for them to use Twitter as their daily work. Many journalists love to be pitched through Twitter direct messages or tweets. It’s also a platform that’s faster than email in which we can build a good relationship by following and providing good comments.

In a BBC article, David Schneider says “If you’re 29th in the queue on a phone call, only you know that. It’s you and the person who’s keeping you on hold. But if you tweet, it’s public and it could be picked up, and I think companies are very aware of that.”

Needless to say, the new PR world is much more effective than what it used to be. New technology and the expediting internet have allowed all businesses, big and small, to become successful through Public Relations.

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