Pinterest may be the flavor of the month, but another social media fad will soon come along to replace it as the new media darling. Instagram was recently grabbing headlines because of its acquisition by Facebook. No question, the social media revolution and the changes that come with it are at the heart of conversations taking place in Wall St. boardrooms, newsrooms, schools, professional locker rooms, marcomm departments of virtually all industries and, lastly, in the world of public relations. It has dramatically altered the way PR professionals represent their companies and their clients on a day-to-day basis and there is no going back. Public relations is no longer a day job; it is 24-7. It is fast, always online and unforgiving. Those thinking about a career in PR need to be completely up for the challenge.
However, in spite of this online uprising, where email is king (often the only way journalists communicate), and bloggers become legends, there is still something to be said for doing things the old fashion way – through the art of face to face conversation. The days of taking a reporter out for an expensive lunch are gone (as much as we enjoyed it), but being able to craft a one minute elevator pitch to deliver in person about a product or service is still very much in vogue. We were reminded of this when we spent three days in New York two weeks ago meeting with business, consumer and trade media. Yes, email is convenient and standard operating procedure, but there is nothing like spending time with media and being able to look them in the eye. Seeing a positive or negative facial expression to a story, a color or a technology provides data that you cannot glean from an email.
An obvious conclusion? Perhaps, but it is important not to forget the origin of public relations and the fact that it was founded upon the notion of establishing personal relationships in order to convey a specific point of view.
In today’s non-stop world, that point of view may land on a highly regarded blog or on a fabulous website with millions of unique viewers – definitely a home run in our world. But the adrenaline one feels through securing a segment in the first hour of the Today Show or a placement in the Wall Street Journal above the fold is unmatched.
The PR profession has been given a new set of tools to communicate, but in my 30 plus years of experience, I can’t help but think the more things change, the more they stay the same.