As PR Newswire is celebrates its 60th Anniversary (see their 60 Years of Stories here), they’ve asked us to weigh in on how the PR profession has evolved. InkHouse was born in 2007 out of the need for a different approach to PR. Part of this change is due to the fast-changing media business, to which we are inextricably intertwined. Print is struggling, online is trying to invent a successful business model, and reporters are changing beats and titles every single day. The other influence on the changes in PR comes from our digital world and the ways people share information.
All of this change is good for PR. In fact, the PR industry showed tremendous growth in 2013. While the tactics may be less familiar, the opportunities for PR have never been greater. Here are the five trends we see shaping the PR industry today:
- Press releases are going retro. Andwe like it. In fact, a study we completed earlier this year shows that the press release is the most trusted form of company-generated news. By design, a press release should read like a news story (one you’d read in a publication!). Today’s news cycles have created more opportunities for press releases (or portions of them) to appear as news stories. However, if you begin with, “ABC Corporation, the leading provider of best in breed e-commerce solutions…,” it will land in the virtual trash. Less marketing language, more reporting! Read more in our 9 Tips for Retooling the Press Release to its Intended Audience: The Press.
- Media relationships come from good content and great sources, not meetings (necessarily). Reporters’ jobs have changed. Some have to post up to 10 articles each day. Why? There are fewer of them – according to The Wall Street Journal, for every journalist there are 4.6 PR people. The news cycle can be mere seconds long and it goes all day and all night. Reporters are under the gun. Sources who are fast, interesting, and accurate get coverage. Those who seek relationship-building meetings often take second chair. Want to get quoted? Try our 10 Strategies for Your Next Media Interview.
- WHY is more important than WHAT. To get press, you need to tell a great story, and your product’s features are not a story. A story provides a lens – context! When companies embark on making their stories public, the facts can distract them from the stories that make those facts interesting. When you begin the discussion with why, it will lead back to what you do. What you do becomes the proof of how you think. Read more in The Facts Alone Do Not Make a Story and The Five Elements of a Good Company Story.
- Content is Currency. A good PR program flows from great content. Contributed articles, infographics, video, you name it. Great content fuels placements through guest posts and columns. It engages target audiences if you use it well as a social engagement tool. It also drives traffic back to your website, and it helps reporters know how you think. (By the way, if you have not signed up for LinkedIn publishing yet, you should!)
- Measurement moves way beyond impressions. As I wrote in my Op-Ed for The Holmes Report, just 10 years ago, advertising equivalency was a PR person’s only measurement tool. Public relations can include content marketing, social audiences, influencers, and real-time conversations. And all of these things can fuel lead generation – the ultimate goal. We look at three metrics: external exposure, audience engagement and influence. Done well, a good measurement program can inform the adjustments necessary to connect with your audiences in a meaningful way. It doesn’t matter if you know 1 million people saw your message. Did they act on it? And which ones worked best?
We’ve been studying the changes in PR since the inception of InkHouse. If you’d like to take a walk down recent memory lane, here are a few resources on our industry’s evolution:
- Slideshare: PR’s Evolution and How Tactics Must Change
- Infographic: The Re-imagining of PR
- Ebook: Read It, Watch It, or Tweet It – How Americans Read and Share News
Happy anniversary PR Newswire! We are looking forward to 60 more!