Digital Dilemma for Old School PR Practitioners

Switching gears for dyed-in-the-wool public relations practitioners from hard-copy news releases sent out snail mail to instant Twitter posts is a tough transition.

The bread and butter of PR used to be news releases and follow up pitches. Sure, it’s still in the toolbox, but many of these missives end up in ghost town news rooms or on the desks of overworked, general assignment reporters.

Gone are the days of print beat reporters working for days on an in-depth story. It’s now instant posting of stories on the website while still sitting in public meetings or covering an accident…complete with video.

Those of us in PR realize that a reputation damaging tweet can do as much harm as an above-the-fold story in today’s newspaper.

If you stay with what you know and practice in PR, there’s a great chance that you’ll become irrelevant. Today’s internet is more pervasive, more powerful than any medium ever created. It’s instantaneous, unfiltered and high-biased content spills out in billions of megabytes daily, largely unchallenged and certainly absent fact checking.

PR practitioners must keep up with the times by leaving comfort behind and spending a large chunk of time online seeing what’s trending today and what blog posts are taking direct aim at their clients.

Reporters are reading the comments and posts as well, picking up tips, rumors and possible chinks in your armor.

We now live by Google alerts and 140 characters instead of clip books and reams of releases. And, really it seems like a good trend.

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