My name is Clare, and I’m a PR dinosaur at heart. I may as well be standing up at an AA meeting, admitting such a cardinal sin in the modern world of communications. But I can’t help it, I am.
I yearn for the days of writing press releases and spending a Friday afternoon packing them into envelopes, sticking labels on and franking them – then of course heading off to the pub! Old school.
I miss the way newspapers used to work. Just 17 years ago I began work in a newsroom where they still scanned the photographers’ photos, where I hardly used an email, where there was one computer in the whole newsroom which had Google, and we sometimes queued to use it, where we had ‘patch days’ dedicated to finding quality local stories. Imagine explaining this world to a millennial.
Have I been cynical about the change in the media over the past five years? Yes of course I have. To be honest, I think a large percentage of people working in the media have. But we move on, we change. Not necessarily because we want to, but because we have to in order to keep up. I’m sure mechanics working on electric cars feel the same, or professional photographers as they watch the masses take a selfie with a filter, creating an image similar to a staged, carefully framed sepia photo on film.
Ten years ago, if you’d have asked me what a hashtag was, what Twitter meant, what an Avatar was, how I took a ’selfie’ or how I ‘tagged someone’, I’d be drawing a blank. But today, these things have integrated into our common parlance. They are our way of life. The amount of conversations I have, which start with: “Did you see what they posted on Instagram last night?” – I can’t count.
Social media, the web, apps, videos, GIFs, live streaming, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Snapchat – I could go on, please don’t make me! This is where we are.
For us, there’s no more packing envelopes, as a business we don’t even possess a franking machine, our phones don’t ring half as much, we don’t print photos and like many people with a work email, we can be found wherever we are – damn that 4G!
We can send out hundreds of press releases in an hour, with the touch of a button. We can reach thousands of people quickly, regularly, not through the traditional media, but through our own channels, we can super target our key audiences, we can be part of a network without meeting anyone, without shaking hands. The world is infinitely smaller as a result, but so much bigger in terms of how many can be reached.
We can engage people we couldn’t have hoped to reach before. And it’s this fact that keeps me engaged in what we do. In fact it’s this that drives me to learn more and soak up what is available to us and our clients. And even working with the traditional media in many ways has become simpler. Although we know the stories that would have worked in the past, won’t work now. We now know what will work, and it can often be quirkier, more fun, crazy in fact. But if it draws the right sort of interest in your client, then why not?
The great William Shakespeare once said: “better three hours too soon, than a minute too late.” That’s where we have to be with the new digital age, ahead of ourselves, not left behind and catching up too late. That’s where every business needs to be, and that’s what we’re here for – making sure you meet that deadline of ‘three hours too soon’.