5 outdated PR tactics and their modern equivalents

Press conferences, media tours and even television don’t accomplish PR goals like they used to. Here are their modern, more effective equivalents.

Some aspects of public relations will always stay the same: authenticity, credibility, relationship building, fast acting, thought leadership.

But, the ways in which we achieve some of these elements have changed.

From circulation numbers to embedded URLs, event attendance to social presence, and direct mail to text messages, PR is evolving. Here are five outdated practices that have successfully undergone modern makeovers:

1. Press conferences

While traditional press conferences may still work for government officials, Twitter chats are the modern equivalent. Eighty-three percent of Fortune 500 companies have active Twitter accounts, and for good reason. With 271 million monthly active Twitter users, companies have their customers, partners and prospects at their fingertips.

2. Media tours

Unless you’re flying across the globe for an event or customer meeting, hopping on a plane just for a media tour is practically unheard of these days. Why waste thousands of dollars when a series of 30-minute phone briefings will do the job? Not to mention, with the propensity for scheduling conflicts and breaking news, face-to-face sessions can be more hassle than they’re worth. You’ll see everyone at the next major conference anyway.

3. Press kits

When was the last time you packaged a press release with screen shots, product images, company backgrounders, executive bios and headshots, FAQs and datasheets? That information is still available on company websites (where reporters know they can find it), but good content is replacing media kits. Whether it’s a unique data set on an industry trend or an exclusive quote on a current event, reporters are looking for the new and interesting, not the pre-packaged.

4. Television

Getting on the evening news is still a great feather in your cap—in fact, any broadcast spot is often the dream coverage for PR. But, with videos on the rise and YouTube reaching more than 1 billion unique users each month, there’s no doubt online video is television’s modern equivalent. YouTube users watch more than 1 billion videos daily on mobile devices, whereas only 30 million people watch TV on them. Perhaps the medium will even help make Eric Schmidt’s statement true.

5. Charts

Decades ago, one chart showing a technology’s growth may have sufficed, but now it’s better to combine that growth trajectory with other related information in an infographic. For instance, how does that growth compare across countries? Does the growth directly relate to mobile use? People (including the press) want to see context and a storyline. That’s how your chart, as one piece of a bigger industry puzzle, will get coverage.

Meredith L. Eaton is an account director at March Communications. A version of this article originally appeared on the March Communications blog. Find her on Twitter @MeredithLEaton.

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Topics: PR


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