Jan 16th 2019

A time for some New Year’s PResolutions

2019 new years resolutions

It’s that time of the year, when people make New Year’s Resolutions to better themselves.

We are now well into 2019 after what was widely considered to be a tumultuous 2018. Personally, I had a wonderfully wine-filled year, and as such will continue my regular glasses of Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, and Tempranillo, and not cut down too much on my wine consumption (Mama didn’t raise no quitter). Professionally, however, I do want to make some changes. One way I want to change in 2019 is to contribute more to this blog. So why not start now? I want to share with you my opinions and thoughts on tech, policy, cybersecurity, and the PR industry in general this year.

That last point is the kicker. In my relatively short time (three years) as a PR, I’ve witnessed a couple of decent shockwaves, and these have informed my PResolutions for the coming year:

I really want to speak to someone about…

The first is that, three years since I started in PR, journalists are far less open to taking briefings with clients. Time is short, deadlines are close, and transcribing an interview can take ages. Add that onto sifting through the conversation for salient points and you’ve got an article that may take three times longer to write.  Written comment that either supports or counters an argument saves everyone (PRs and journalists both) a lot of time, and is preferred by a growing number of reporters. The value of face-to-face meetings should not be underestimated, but a strong news hook is often needed as an incentive.

What is a phone?

Secondly, we come onto the very touchy subject of phones: some journalists will pick up the phone, and others will not, with many now stipulating that they do not want to be called. Often, we must send an email confirming placement of an article, so why not cut down on making the call, and the additional minutes writing that confirmation email? Why not just email? For a press release, the phone is the only real option, and provides a valuable opportunity to speak directly to journalists about why the story matters. Aside from this though, the phone is nearly gone.

These may not seem huge, but they all point to a newer and simpler PR/journalist relationship. I, for one, welcome it.

Looks like the change is on the other foot

What this means is that PR as we know it is changing. A former colleague of mine agrees with me. We both reckon that PR is going to change significantly, with the integration of more content marketing, leveraging of influencers on social media, and the use of more varied non-traditional types of media as part of recommended communications strategies. Media relations will of course continue to play a strong role, but it will be part of a far larger PR toolkit – and rightly so. Change is afoot, and we all know it.

So, what can we do about it, starting from 2019? Investment in people is a start. I don’t just mean standalone writing training, or a single session looking at the latest approaches to crisis comms. One-time training sessions should be fewer, and ongoing sessions should be more prevalent. Learning by repetition and instilling “muscle memory” is proven to be effective, so why not do we not do this with our own professional training?

I’m also thinking skills that are more attuned to our digital age. Skills that will add real value to the companies that we represent and work for. Personally, I’m going to look at graphic design, video production, even audio production. Video and podcasts continue to become more and more popular and some are even arguing that podcasts are in their Golden Age, so why not try and make that happen for cybersecurity, enterprise networking, and 5G? Why not create easy to digest videos, combining animation with real people?

As our clients are undergoing major change in their industries, so is PR. I firmly believe that 2019 will be the beginning of a new world for PR, and we need to adapt to it. New Media, whether we like it or not, is the future; anyone with a smartphone can tell you that. What stands between us and success is training ourselves on New Media, demonstrating its value to clients, and then acting on it. We simply must evolve, or risk falling by the wayside.

Now – Beaujolais, anyone?

Get in touch to discuss how we can support your PR strategy this year.