The Changing Face of PR

I came across this article recently and thought it spoke very well to a number of the changes we’re seeing in the PR industry – “5 outdated PR tactics and their modern equivalents.” In it, author Meredith Eaton lists the 5 outdated tactics as the following: press conferences, media tours, press kits, TV and charts. She astutely suggests that they’ve been replaced by tweetchats, phone briefings, new and interesting (vs. prepackaged) content, YouTube videos and infographics, respectively.

I think the challenge is often educating clients who are not in the PR world re: these changes. For example, many clients still request press conferences for big announcements – and want to see their stories on the 6 pm newscast. While press conferences do still have their place in certain scenarios (as Eaton suggests, they’re often still effective when government officials are involved), and while coverage on the evening news is still a huge win – it’s important to help clients understand how the scales are shifting in terms of the growing value of tactics like tweetchats and online videos. As Eaton points out, YouTube users watch more than 1 billion videos daily on their mobile devices, and Twitter has more than 271 million monthly active users.

A case in point involving our client Children’s Hospital Colorado. We utilized both Twitter and YouTube in efforts related to Eating Disorder Awareness. In this case, we did happen to partner with our local NBC affiliate, and so we did secure TV coverage, which was undoubtedly important in terms of helping to raise awareness about this critical issue. However, we also garnered more than 8,500 views of videos featuring an eating disorder survivor sharing her story on YouTube, and we later hosted a tweetchat with the same young woman. That tweetchat resulted in more than 5.5 million Twitter impressions. In this case, we were able to blend the more traditional PR tactic of television with the “newer” social media tactics of Twitter and YouTube with exciting success – and were therefore able to reach new audiences in new ways.

Some clients, such as Children’s Colorado, are excited to try these newer tactics, while others still need a bit more convincing. Once they see the power these new approaches can have, though, even the most reluctant client is generally enthusiastic about the direction our industry is heading.

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