When one of my new PR students read last week’s post listing David Meerman Scott’s NEW RULES for PR & Marketing, he suggested that the old rules were still useful.
Perhaps some “old rules” may be, but not the ones DMS pointed out. Here below is my response to Thomas’ comment:
Thomas, have you ever heard the old cliche, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater”? That expression was the first thing that came to mind when I read your comment. In other words, when you are “cleaning up,” make certain that you don’t throw out EVERYTHING.
So I thought I’d reexamine those OLD RULES and decide if any were really worth saving:
1. The only way to get ink was through the media.
Of course, with social media, we are all publishers and do not require the mainstream media to tell our stories.
2. Companies communicated to journalists via press releases.
Organizations of all types — profit, nonprofit, government, etc. — can bypass journalists by posting releases on their own sites as well as using many different platforms to communicate with buyers, employees, community members, shareholders, and any other stakeholders they wish to reach.
3. Nobody saw the actual press release except a handful of reporters and editors.
That’s just not true anymore. People searching for our companies and/or the products we carry and/or services we provide can find releases and news and information on our websites as well as more dynamic platforms like our blogs and Twitter accounts.
4. Companies had to have significant news before they were allowed to write a press release.
DMS tells us over and over that the more we communicate directly with our buyers, the better relationships we can build — and that means sharing lots of newsworthy items, not simply “significant events.”
5. Jargon was okay because the journalists all understood it.
Jargon doesn’t work. You want your audiences to understand everything — about your company and you. Jargon does not figure at all in an Authentic World where Transparency is Key.
6. You weren’t supposed to send a release unless it included quotes from third parties, such as customers, analysts, and experts.
Now these 3rd party quotes easily find their way to the people through tweets, blogs, and updates. People do want to hear from their friends — and social media makes those recommendations so easy.
7. The only way buyers would learn about the press release content was if the media wrote a story about it.
With the opportunity to publish your releases on your own internet platforms — as well as the availability of both free and fee-based wire services, you no longer need to depend entirely on the mainstream media. However, if your messages “go viral,” you can be guaranteed that the media will find you and reinforce your message even more.
8. The only way to measure the effectiveness of press releases was through “clip books,” which noted each time the media deigned to pick up a company’s release.
Measuring ROI has a host of new tools including Google Analytics as well as blog comments and social media update — all of which are easily accessible through tools and search. Of course, for many businesses the true measurement of effectiveness has nothing to do with “clips” and everything to do with sales.
9. PR and marketing were separate disciplines run by different people with separate goals, strategies, and measurement techniques.
It seems safe to conclude that marketing is going to have to be ALL about getting out the brand reputation and the brand message to various audiences — and that is what Public Relations has ALWAYS been about.
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