Have you ever watched a movie where someone wakes up from a coma and has to acclimate to a new life after time moved on without them? Not to get hyperbolic, but that’s similar to how I felt stepping back into the world of public relations (PR) after nine years of being a stay-at-home mom. I took a hiatus from my PR career after I had my firstborn. When my second child started kindergarten, it felt like a good time to dip my toe back in to the PR world, but that decision certainly didn’t come without a good bit of trepidation.
Some of the PR landscape had changed while I was busy changing diapers, and I knew I’d have to catch up quickly to keep pace with my colleagues. Here’s a quick overview of the biggest changes and continuities I noticed in the PR world over the last decade:
The way we communicate
Rejoining the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic made for an interesting learning curve to say the least. Technology in general has changed by leaps and bounds. Goodbye AOL Instant Messenger and Second Life. Hello Slack and metaverse. Long gone are the days of having a team huddle around a Polycom for a client call, emailing an assignment or shooting a quick instant message to a colleague. Now I’m Zooming, Trello-ing and Slacking with the best of them.
When I was starting out in PR, social networks were really just beginning to change the way we focused our outreach efforts. The rise of social media since then has created new opportunities and challenges. Conversations are more instantaneous, which means there’s an increased demand to review and react to information as quickly as possible. It’s also led to the emergence of a wholly new player in PR — digital influencers, who now have a powerful impact on the way brands can amplify their message.
In the past few years there’s been a seismic shift in the journalistic landscape — it’s become more lean, with many publications working with a skeleton crew. This often means that a single reporter is wearing many hats when it comes to the beats they cover, which inherently leads to them being overburdened with pitches. This makes it even more critical to ensure that pitches are on target and compelling. It’s also given rise to opportunities for PR professionals to provide contributed content to reporters in lieu of traditional interviews, which helps them fill their digital and print pages while allowing us to share thought leadership.
WHAT’S STAYED THE SAME
Despite advancements in the way we communicate, it’s reassuring that the underpinnings of public relations have stayed the same. Knowing what story is going to be impactful and resonate with a client’s audience and telling it in a compelling, concise way is still the best way to cut through the noise.
The golden rule
Kindness, authenticity and enthusiasm never go out of style, whether it’s working with colleagues, clients or reporters. All of these relationships are important to cultivate, and treating everyone with the respect you expect goes a long way.
Much like parenting, there are seasons of change in any industry. The path to success lies in adaptability, which Comprise knows a lot about. It’s never too late to reevaluate your marketing and PR strategies. What worked (or didn’t work) in the past may have shifted, so if you’re looking for a partner in PR that can help your brand evolve, let’s connect!