In June of 1992, I was a recent graduate of Western Michigan University and had started my first job in public relations with Edelman Public Relations Worldwide in Chicago. It was an amazing time.
Looking back on my early days in PR and fast-forwarding 22 years, a lot has changed. But in many ways, much remains the same. The media landscape is certainly not what it was two decades ago. Social media wasn’t around; there was not as much audience fragmentation; etc., etc. But despite these differences, I see three things that are just as needed today as they were in 1992:
Still Need Content — The word “content” may not have been en vogue in PR circles in 1992. But I can still remember sitting in strategic planning meetings at Edelman brainstorming creative ways to drive awareness and affinity for our main client, Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn. At the end of the day, no matter what strategy we decided to pursue, we needed content. For example, we believed fall would be a great time to do a promotion; with summer over, more people are eating at home and indoors. Fall is also football season. So, to capitalize on a fall promotion, we needed to create a press kit full of great fall-flavored recipes perfect for families, tailgaters and snackers. The press kit we developed contained 10-plus recipes and provided a ton of content we could use throughout the year for our various PR efforts.
Still Need Influencers—People buy a product for a number of different reasons: price, brand name, convenience, etc. But it’s proven that people are swayed to buy a product when someone they trust or know speaks well of that product. Way back in 1992, we would court influencers to “endorse” Orville’s product. And guess what? Influencers are just as important (perhaps even more so) today. Traditional media, bloggers and those on Twitter, Facebook, etc., are today’s influencers that PR pros must engage with to help promote their client’s product or service. (By the way, if you’re looking to pitch journalists using social media, here are some great tips from Mashable: http://on.mash.to/18Vnqca)
Still Need Results —No matter how creative we got with our PR campaigns in 1992, our clients still demanded results (go figure!) The same holds true today. That’s why it’s so important to have your tactics tied to a sound strategy with clear and measurable results identified. Undoubtedly, many organizations are using social media these days. If you’re looking for a good article about social media ROI, try this from our friends at @PRDaily.com: http://bit.ly/J97koc
So what do you think? Is it “back to the future” for PR pros these days? Let me know your thoughts.