The practice of public relations has seen dramatic shifts in the last two decades, but do the goals and outcomes remain unchanged? We asked award-winning author, book publisher, speaker & PR pro Jane Tabachnick for her thoughts on the current state of PR.
Most people view traditional PR as sending out a press release. What’s changed?
Today, PR is so much more than press releases. There has been a shift from traditional media outlets such as TV, radio and newspapers to a media landscape that now includes many user-generated and owned media such as YouTube, TikTok, blogs and newsletters.
How would you define modern PR in a nutshell?
Modern PR still focuses on your strategic communication process with your audiences; however, the focus is on digital and includes more owned media. The content you create on your website, blog and social media all form part of your owned media communications. In essence, you have become the media.
What PR tactics should small businesses be using to raise their visibility?
The best is to borrow other peoples’ audiences. Build relationships with local media, bloggers and podcast hosts and let them know how you can add value to their audience. Offer to write a post, be a guest or provide subject matter expertise.
What’s the biggest PR mistake someone can make?
The biggest PR mistake people make is getting press and not sharing or re-promoting it. With the noisy world we live in, along with online algorithms, people don’t see content, even from a major media outlet. Therefore, it’s important to share your press again and again to maximize the value and impact of it. Make sure to tag the journalist or podcast host to get even more visibility, as well as thank them.
Can any AI tools be put to work for PR?
AI tools can be great as PR assistants. They can be used to suggest subject lines, suggest story ideas – i.e. what to pitch for the month of May. They can write draft press releases. As a caution, the content generated should not be used as is. You need to think of it as a draft and then go in and make it your own, or it will sound flat and obviously AI-generated. Journalists are very savvy and will know the difference, which could harm your relationship with them, so it is not worth the risk.
Many thanks to Jane Tabachnick for sharing her wisdom on PR. Have an idea for a future 5 Questions About… feature? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it in the queue.