PR Social Communications

How Is PR Different Now?

Well, PR forever stayed the same. It’s all about events and reputation management and crisis communication and media relations and public affairs and investor relations, said digital communications author Gini Dietrich in our recent interview*. But you could pretty much do your job the same way. Nothing really changed. And in 2007, this thing called Twitter came out and about a year later, Facebook opened up to businesses and suddenly the social web was like, “Woo, here we are.”

We had a new way to communicate. Not only did we have a new way to communicate, but newspapers were going out of business. Magazines were going out of business. All of the relationships with journalists, that many of us had spent years cultivating, were either out on the street, they were out doing their own thing, or they were joining PR forums. Going to the dark side.

With these relationships you were able to sell them to clients before. Now those relationships either were working with you in-house or had gone out on their own to offer PR to clients.

Then you had customers that suddenly had direct access to media, where before there was a middle man. There was a spokesperson. There was somebody that they had to go through to get to the organizations. Now, they have the opportunity to talk directly to the CEO or directly to the chief marketing officer, or directly to the finance guy. They don’t need to go through the middle man anymore. PR has kind of been standing here for the last few years going, “What the heck just happened? And how do we capitalize on it?

What About Pros Who Still Think PR Is Only About Press Releases and Media Coverage?

There are definitely two sides to it. I come from the PR firm world. That’s the perspective that I have. However, as Arment Dietrich grows and we work with bigger and bigger clients, I found that many marketers inside organizations still ask for those things. They still want the news releases and they still want the media impressions and they still want the old advertising metrics, even though we think that’s bunk and not worth anything, we still have to provide them.

You have to provide data showing the increase in Twitter followers, and the increase in Facebook fans, and all those things that really mean nothing while we’re educating them on the new way of measuring actual success. This allows you to build trust in the process by taking it step by step. You have to be very strategic. You have to educate and while you still provide that other stuff. That stuff we all know is not really worth anything, but because that’s what traditional communicators are accustomed to asking for they need to see it too.

* This is an excerpt from my interview of Gini Dietrich on PR And Communications For The New Century.

Watch My 35 Minute Interview: PR And Communications For The New Century with Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich @ginidietrich CEO Arment Dietrich Author Spinsucks book and blog. Co-author Marketing in the Round (with Geoff Livingston.)