How Do We Define Public Relations?

29 Sep How Do We Define Public Relations?

We’ve all heard the clichés – business is constantly changing, companies need to be agile, technology is rapidly evolving, etc. etc. etc. But there’s a funny thing about clichés – most of them have at least a grain of truth to them.

Just look at the public relations industry as a shining example of those aforementioned truisms. In the not-so-distant past, practicing PR was pretty straightforward – you’d get your messaging together, send out a press release, follow-up with a phone call or email or two, set up interviews, and count and monitor your news clips.

But PR has – dare I say it – evolved. Like many things in today’s social media/smartphone/always connected age, it encompasses so many things it’s become truly hard to easily define.

That didn’t stop writer Jarone Ashkenazi from trying to do so, however. In a piece for Fast Company, Ashkenazi takes a look at the current state of PR, seeks to more clearly define it, and, as a result, draw a picture of what it may look like in the near future.

Ashkenazi touches on some interesting points, including one that’s dear to me: PR as a storytelling medium. It’s no longer enough to simply put out a news announcement and be done with it. In order to gain the attention of the people companies really want to get to – their customers – they need to be able to tell the story of the brand. Like any story, it needs to be unique and compelling. Simply having it read the same way as every other company’s tale is not nearly enough to capture people’s imagination – not in today’s saturated media landscape.

As Ashkenazi points out, that saturation is being fueled by the number of different ways people are getting information. Sure, there’s social media – but there are also devices, including smartphones and tablets, that are encouraging people to consume more information. In short, whereas we once pitched newspaper and TV reporters, we’re now pitching bloggers, posting on Twitter and Facebook, using new media tools like YouTube and Vine, and more.

As our industry evolves, so does SpeakerBox. We’re continually looking for new ways to incorporate various methodologies and tools to connect our clients with stakeholders. We understand that it’s not just about media relations anymore, but telling stories and gaining traction through things like white papers, authored articles, website content development, blog measurement and development, videos, and more.

The news cycle is contracting, offering shorter windows for exposure – but the way we can tell news is greatly expanding. Right now, we have all sorts of different ways to tell stories. While that may make defining PR somewhat difficult, it also opens up many possibilities, for both the present and the future.

Pete Larmey



Kate Nesbitt
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