How to Make Yourself Famous – PR has shifted dramatically over the past two decades with the meteoric rise of social media (and influencers).
Zara Deegan, Founder of EXT MKTG takes us through the evolution of PR, why editorials and advertorials are becoming ever closer and why stories are still the most important part of PR.
What is PR?
PR is a wild world. Firstly, what is PR? Traditionally it’s public or media relations, where clever people who write brilliant copy have great ideas sit and they feed stories into the media. If you were to pick up a magazine or check out a website, you’ll see a hair product feature- with Top 5 Best Conditioners- that is down to multiple PRs for hair brands begging a beauty editor to feature their product. In consumer PR- it’s about samples! In news or financial, it’s about newfound insights, giving someone the scoop or giving them access to a person they want to interview.
Cutting Your Teeth
I’ve been in-house and in-agency and I would recommend anyone to work in a PR agency to cut your teeth on learning how to be persuasive, communicative and tough. In my day, 15 years ago, we had extensive media lists which as Account Execs we spent our lives updating; we were then given press releases and told to reach out to every single journalist to ‘sell in’ the release. Yes, we had emails and phones but social media wasn’t commonplace for outreach, that was mostly for personal not business use. But it was a time when blogging and Twitter were becoming a thing.
It was hard graft. I sometimes represented multiple clients in a day and just told to sell-in as many releases as I could, without sounding desperate or like a robot. I did my best and I’ve never been worried to pick the phone up to ring anyone ever since.
Now I’m B2B side, not B2C, and I’m representing talented people and businesses with great content and great contacts but it’s increasingly more and more difficult.
Some research I’ve come across recently; Muck Rack’s State of PR for 2023;
– 70% of PR pros expect earned media to become more difficult to secure over the next five years.
– LinkedIn is now the top social network for communication strategies after increasing more than 10% compared to last year, displacing Twitter.
– More than half of PR pros say there is little to no diversity on their leadership teams.
– AI is one of the top five skills PR pros say their companies companies will need to focus on to be successful in the future.
– 44% of PR pros say they’re spending more time on internal communications.
State of Journalism 2023
Then I read their ‘State of Journalism 2023’ which is also pretty telling:
– Economic uncertainty has impacted the work of around two-thirds of journalists.
– The number of journalists who say they’re more likely to respond to pitches now compared to last year has increased by about 7%.
– Journalists plan to spend more time on Youtube, Linkedin and TikTok.
– About half of journalists considered leaving Twitter, but only 28% say they plan to spend less time on the social network this year.
– Fewer journalists find CEOs to be credible sources. 74% found them credible in the 2021 report versus 62% this year.
– Millennials and Gen X are the most commonly reported target audiences for journalists
– Journalists cite lack of funding and disinformation as top concerns for the industry.
Editorials & Advertorials – Blurring Lines
The lines between editorials and advertorials are blurred, and instead of journalists ignoring you (which is most the time), I’m now being contacted to pay for space. So isn’t that just advertising?! You can also buy social media content by publications, emails… as well as advertising space of course. The avenues have grown, and quite right because we need the media titles to remain but it’s very, very different. I wonder if I’m a media buyer or a PR!
So I now look to other channels and we get inventive. A friend and colleague in the industry says it’s not ‘public relations’ any more, it’s ‘public reputation’, her view is to be open to the avenues of paying for content, not just sending out releases and waiting for the offline and online media to feature the story or work collaboratively with you on the piece.
How to make yourself Famous
My take-away points are therefore to do what brands do- tell stories and choose some mediums of information to share those stories on. If you’re not sure on these or need the expertise then reach out to a PR or Marketer who can help. The list of avenues is vast; you can self-publish to Medium or LinkedIn Articles, on your own blog, create a digital publication, be a guest speaker on a podcast, deliver a talk, do a YouTube video or of course, you can reach out to a journalist and tell them what you’re interested in talking about and gage their interested. You may just be one of the lucky ones, but be true to your goals and raise awareness where it suits your brand.
Zara Deegan, Founder and Director, EXT MKTG
Zara founded EXT MKTG, an agile B2B marketing agency built to service time-poor business owners of creative agencies. We specialise in small to medium-sized creative agencies, particularly brand and interior design agencies and always make a positive difference.