So, what do you do?
I hear the question nearly every day. I recite scripted answers such as “I get your name in the paper” or “I create and destroy reputations for a living” before elaborating if invited.
I miss an opportunity nearly every time because I lack a concise follow-up. It’s a travesty because everyone asking that question is a potential new customer. After consulting numerous public relations pros, it turns out that I stand in good company.
Many of them best describe PR in association to its two sisters, advertising and marketing.
“Mostly everyone knows what advertising is and most people have a basic understanding of marketing, but PR seems to fall short of general knowledge,” Alex Belanger with seoplus+ says. “They might know it relates to marketing, but that's about it. I even get asked more often than you’d imagine if it’s the same as HR, because reasons.”
Legacy media such as newspapers, radio and television neared their end in 1999 because of their limited column inches and only 24 hours available in a day.
The internet would soon replace them because it offered unlimited space and time and therefore eliminated such antiquated 20th Century constraints, or so conventional wisdom taught us.
Nearly 20 years later, core messages become worthless if they don’t fit into 140 (now 280) characters. Rarely does anyone have the time for a 3,000-word article or an hour-long broadcast when the American attention has dwindled from 12 seconds in 2000 to only eight seconds today.
So is the world finally ready to toss the final traditional media holdouts into history’s recycling center? Not quite, public relations professionals say.
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