How has PR changed over the last 15 years?

It’s inevitable that things change over time – and the world of PR is no different. Here we take a look at its evolution over the years, and how business horizons have expanded as a result.

Probably the most drastic – and convenient – difference has to be how we share news. Years ago, if you wanted a magazine or a newspaper to cover a story you would have to type up the press release and physically send it out in the post or via fax. It was unlikely that you’d receive confirmation of whether journalists would run the article – you would simply cross your fingers and hope for the best! But nowadays, we can send stories to the media via email or distribution platforms, with the article appearing online within minutes or in print the following day.

With the explosion of the internet, the number of possibilities for featuring news has skyrocketed. Over a decade ago, many PR companies relied solely on traditional media coverage, with only a small selection of journalists to send this to. These days, we’re spoilt for choice, with a host of contacts each specialising in specific sectors, along with tonnes of online media outlets and blogs to be featured within.

Getting a media mention back then would have been nice, but there was no real way to track the success of your press release — the number of people who read it or bought your product as a result was unknown. Now we can easily find these stats out online and report where the story has been used, along with providing increased insight into how beneficial a particular piece of coverage might be in line with business objectives.

The influence a PR professional wielded would also have depended, largely, on geography. Physical meetings were essential when it came to building relationships with the right people at a publication. But now we can now engage with journalists via social media, video meetings, email, and over the phone — without ever having to meet them in person. Although, at Scriba, we still love to take the opportunity to meet our contacts whenever we can.

This geographical challenge often impacted the reach of an article – meaning that local, rather than national or international, coverage was the norm. But thanks to technological advancements we can now easily send our news worldwide — with an unlimited number of journalists’ contact details quite literally at our fingertips.

And in such a fast-paced profession, the progression of our industry is unlikely to end here. We’re excited to see what the next 15 years will bring – watch this space!

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Written by Bethany Lunt