How the practice of PR has changed over the years

August 21, 2017

As industries change with technology, innovation and time, certain things still stick around. With four full-time consultants on staff and several others engaged as subcontractors, Dooley Communications is Winnipeg’s largest public relations (PR) agency, advising clients from local startups to Fortune 500 companies. We have been around for a decade and watched the industry evolve and grow. The saying “public perception is reality,” isn’t going anywhere, and neither is PR.

Fewer reporters, more content creators

These days, PR professionals can’t just have contacts in newsrooms — they need a whole list of bloggers, influencers, and social media stars to pull from to help their clients get a message out to the world. On the flip side, reporters get more noise in their inbox than ever before. Real relationships and creative pitches that stand out are more valuable than ever.


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More news, faster

There’s no debate that people still look to news outlets for breaking stories and information on what’s happening. In the past it was the newspaper on the doorstep and the evening news at 6:00 PM. Now it comes from an e-newsletter, an app, live Tweets or a post shared by a friend on Facebook. News still travels fast, and getting in front of it before it’s too far gone is more important than ever. Tools like Meltwater (Dooley uses this), allow a company to track targeted mentions on the web and social and get updated every day to keep tabs on what’s being said at all times.

More tools

Brand journalism, newswire services, social media accounts, e-newsletters and videos all help a company get the word out without a media outlet. Now there’s the advantage of using social media or video to issue a quick, but thoughtful, statement in crisis situations. There are also more options in the case that your story didn’t get picked up by the mainstream media. With newsrooms shrinking, and reporters stretching themselves thin, even newsworthy stories can fall through the cracks. There are many ways to get your message out and spread the word — the journalist isn’t the gatekeeper anymore. At Dooley, we always look for the right channel to get the job done. We’re not tied to one tactic or strategy, because every client and situation is different.

More competition for people’s precious attention

Point blank: it’s hard to get people’s attention these days (yes, this includes reporters). It takes a really sticky message, or a lot of exposure, for something to “take.” Our inboxes are overflowing, and our attention only goes so far — that’s why a concise and carefully crafted pitch is even less likely to stand out than ever before.

Brands are trying harder than ever to make big statements to get noticed. In those cases, you only get good mileage out of it if you consider how the media is going to hear about this cool thing you are doing.

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It’s not enough to do just PR, advertising or marketing anymore. Developing a mix that incorporates all three is crucial in the digital age.

Warren Buffet said “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it,” reminding us that PR is no less relevant today than it was a decade ago (luckily, we were around then too).

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Raegan Hedley
Communications Specialist
Dooley Communications