From the first day of my public relations course at Seton Hall, I was taught that the most important tool in PR, is the press release. We learned that a press release and pitching were the tools needed for ultimate success in this field. In my classes, if you could write a killer pitch or an innovative press release, than you were golden. As time went on and I started doing internships I realized that was not the case. As we enter this digital era, professionals seem to believe that press releases or traditional media is becoming extinct. In fact, there are three different paths in your future PR career. Traditional PR is becoming the bare bones of public relations careers. Press releases and pitching is important but as more of a starting ground.
It is interesting to see how much of a vital role social media has played in this field. Like journalism, people are turning less to paper and more to digital. Every story or campaign is available online, and while maybe many can hone this skill, not many leverage it effectively. There is also another form of PR which is focused on well thought out talking points. It is essential to take the client’s objectives and provide researched and well supported selling points. Honestly, in my opinion EVERY campaign should be well thought out and powerful. Down with the clips-driven goals, it is time to implement tactics that ROCK. Viva la smart tactics! Clients don’t want that one clip in The New York Times. Client’s want long-term relationships with their designated public.
I remember writing my first press release as a freshman. I had no idea with what I was doing, but with practice I was able to adapt. As time went on I became a more skilled professional. That’s what happens with this field. It adapts and grows. Journalism is changing from print to digital. The same is happening to PR, except on its own terms. Relying solely on press releases and pitches will not help you in this field. Social media, research, and even branding is the future of PR. Of course crisis management is a huge part of PR, but now there are more ways to succeed. The way past professionals acted in this field is almost a 180 to what it is now. The traditional way is the bare bones and basics of what a professional in this field should know. Now I am no longer that freshman writing a press release but a first semester senior leveraging my research, digital platforms and tools to achieve my client’s goals.
If that is the future of PR then I can’t wait.