Monday, November 19, 2007

The Changing face of Public Relations

I’ve been thinking about Public Relations lately and how much it’s changed (for the better) over the past 10 years. I started my professional career in a small architectural firm and PR was one of my responsibilities. I attended seminars on how to write an effective press release, I learned how to make valuable press contacts and I lived by a large three-ring binder that listed all of the press contacts for the architecture industry in one spot. The binder was my bible and I hated it. I perceived PR as being rigid and forced. There were a limited number of people to talk to and it was very hard to get your story out to your target audience. Today PR is fun. There are so many more people to talk to, and better yet, so many niches to pitch to. With the advent of blogs, podcasts, videos, on-line forums, etc there are a multitude of ways to get your message out and with unlimited creativity. Take for example Ford’s social media press release for their Ford Focus. It’s written for new media. There are videos, lots of photos, suggested tags, even a way to subscribe to updates via RSS. And I suspect new media journalists (like bloggers) love it. After all, Ford has done all of the legwork and combined all of the social media elements anyone might like into one simple release. I think we’ll start seeing more social media elements being incorporated into press releases and I for one am looking forward to incorporating social media into my own work.

Valerie Conyngham

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