PR Then & Now: Has It Really Changed?

by Alison Lee, Intern

Within the past decade, PR experienced an extreme makeover. From blogs to smartphone apps, the exponential ascendancy of new media tools has gone as far as to replace hardcopy feedback with social media surveys, and T.V. with YouTube. Despite the transformation, has PR changed all that much at the core? I think not!

InkHouse’s “PR Then & Now” infographic illustrates technology’s replacement of classic PR tools like in-person media tours and press conferences with quick phone calls and Twitter feeds. However, what haven’t changed since new media’s run are the principles that lie at the core of PR, regardless of the methods and channels in which these values are carried out.

The infographic lists features that are of obvious importance when it comes to communications in general. We all know relationships and authenticity are absolute keys to success; but through my experiences and a few public relations courses I was enrolled in, I can tell you there are definitely principles missing on this image.

Almost every PR person has worked as a part of a team—both back in the day and in the present. I’ve learned through class projects and internship tasks that teamwork allows for combined creativity and verification on hard facts. Though independent work is highly praised in the industry, the ability to work in a team is a growing qualification as the demand for collaboration increases.

If you’re like most PR people, you probably operate best in an environment centered on organization and rigid efficiency. Ironically, flexibility is another fundamental principle. Clients will change their goals and some reporters will choose not to respond to your emails. The need to readily adapt to unpredictable external factors is what makes PR such an exciting (yet sometimes stressful) field.

The final principle goes without saying: initiative is, and always has been, an essential to success in PR. Pitching to businesses, contacting publications and networking require a proactive approach. Even though the mechanics in which we initiate conversation are far different from pre-Twitterverse, PR people have always tactfully started the conversation, be it with clients or various publics. Without initiative, agencies and in-house PR departments wouldn’t have much to do!

The changes in new media will continue to take its toll in PR, as they go hand in hand. Yet, the most reliable and enduring forces behind the success of PR professionals are the core principles on which the industry was founded.

 

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