This post was first published by Meredith L. Eaton on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.
Some things in the world of public relations will always stay the same: Be authentic. Strive for credibility. Build relationships. Create storylines. Act fast. Achieve thought leadership.
But, the ways in which we achieve some of these still-critical elements have changed greatly over the years.
From circulation numbers to embedded URLs, from event attendance to social presence and from direct mail to SMS, the PR world is evolving. Here are five outdated practices that have undergone a modern makeover with successful results:
1. Press Conferences
While the traditional press conference may still work for government officials, the modern equivalent could be classified as none other than the Twitter Chat. Today, 83 percent of Fortune 500 companies have active Twitter accounts. And for good reason. With 271 million monthly active users, companies have their customers, partners and prospects at their fingertips.
2. Media Tours
Unless you’re already going to be flying across the globe for an event or customer meeting, hopping on a plane for the sole purpose of a media tour is practically unheard of these days. After all, why waste thousands of dollars when a series of 30-minute phone briefings can get the job done? Not to mention, with the propensity for scheduling conflicts and breaking news priorities, face-to-face sessions are likely more hassle than they’re worth. You’ll see them all at the next major conference anyway!
3. Press Kits
When’s the last time you packaged a press release with screen shots and product images, company backgrounders, executive bios and headshots, FAQs and datasheets? Today, all that may still be available on company websites – where press expect they can find it, if they need it – but, replacing media kits is content. Whether it’s a unique data set on an industry trend or an exclusive quote on a current event, press are looking for the new and the interesting, not the pre-packaged.
Getting on TV’s evening news is still a great feather in your cap – in fact, any kind of broadcast spot is often deemed the dream piece of coverage for PR. But, with Internet videos on the rise and YouTube, specifically, reaching more than 1 billion unique users each month, there’s no doubt that this is the modern equivalent of the TV broadcast. YouTube users watch more than 1 billion videos daily on their mobile devices whereas only 30 million people watch TV on their mobile devices. So, perhaps the medium will help make Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s statement last year true.
One chart showing a technology’s growth over the last year may have sufficed decades ago; but, now, combining that growth trajectory with other related information in an infographic is where it’s at. For instance, how does that growth compare across various countries? Does it directly relate to mobile usage? What other technology development timelines led to this innovation? People (and press!) want to see context and a story line – that’s how your chart, as just one piece of a bigger industry puzzle, will get picked up.