There is one universal truth in PR; the role of the public relations professional is always evolving and PR is now squarely in the era of real-time.
There was once a time where morning print editions and 6 o’clock news programs dominated the news cycles. Today, journalists must tame the 24-hour news cycle beast. The move to the round-the-clock news has forever changed our job description, from mainly media relations to proactive public image management, hijacking news and utilizing social media for crisis communications.
Not long-ago PR professionals cold-called reporters to pitch them stories (and some still do). However, just like the well-known “March to Progress” scientific illustration, public relations professionals now pitch reporters through email, secure messaging platforms and in some cases – sliding into a reporter’s Twitter DM’s.
Social media platforms, namely Twitter, have become an integral part of public relations professionals daily job. When Twitter began, users were not taking advantage of the instantaneous communications that the platform provided. The movie Easy A did a great job of capturing the way the public understood the platform in 2010. A character in the movie states:
“I don’t know what your generation’s fascination is with documenting your every thought… but I can assure you, they’re not all diamonds. “Roman is having an OK day and bought a Coke Zero at the gas station. Raise the roof.” Who gives a rat’s ass?”
Today, it’s the ongoing documentation of online thoughts that exaggerate the need for PR professionals. These platforms have made our job simultaneously easier and more difficult. For influencers like Beyoncé or Taylor Swift, Twitter acts as a PR megaphone broadcasting out their news in 280 characters or less. Likewise, the Googles of the world can tweet out a media alert, and forgo issuing a press release altogether. However, for the vast majority of companies that tweet out or create videos about their story on a daily basis, it is our job to make sure that we help them do it in the most strategic way possible.
Now more than ever, technology has taught us to be cautious in the ways we do our jobs as PR pros. The world is now real-time, it is our job to evolve with it and utilize the skills we have learned to be timely, efficient and transparent.