What The PR Industry Wants This Season

Everyone wants peace on Earth and goodwill to all…and the latest smartphone, but those in the New York PR agency community have some special wishes this holiday season.

More journalists. Over the past ten years, the number of reporters decreased from 52,550 to 43,630, a 17 percent loss, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The number of public relations specialists during this timeframe grew by 22 percent, from 166,210 to 202,530. While we’re happy that the industry is growing, we don’t like outnumbering journalists.

Continuing upward trend in PR spending. It’s true Virginia, PR spending is up for 2014! According to a recent survey, a net balance of one percent of companies revised their PR budgets upward during the July-September period. There was also a 7.8 percent increase in event spending, nicely impacting the PR industry as well.

An increase in “disruptive” businesses. We welcome unique businesses springing up from what were once “fringe” categories. From new product entry Official Bob Marley Weed in the burgeoning legal marijuana trade, to Spotify, Uber and others in the “masscierge-driven future,” these market agitators give PR practitioners a lot to talk about.

Amazing “gaffers.” Something happens at holiday time so, like last year’s top contender Justine Sacco, Elizabeth Lauten, communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., chose a public forum to say something lame and thoughtless. In this case Lauten took to Facebook to criticize first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama for basically, acting too much like teenagers. Although she has now resigned, she was another in a long line of PFBBs (public figures behaving badly) and providing so much fodder for PR bloggers!

More listicles and round-ups. Holiday gift lists, end-of-year “best-ofs” – these are the stuff of holiday dreams for PR pros. There is literally a category for any client and if there isn’t one for your client, create it!

Praise for PR. Whether it’s a two-word e-mail (“thank you”) or acknowledgement of PR’s role in a successful marketing or sales campaign, displays of gratitude are always appreciated. After all, PR continues to make the “most stressful jobs” lists year after year! We even received flowers earlier this year after a particularly successful event, and that kind of gift is welcome at any season.

Should PR Reconsider The Press Release?

With the PR industry always abuzz about new types of content and digital dissemination, it’s easy to overlook or question the value of the humble press release. But it remains one of the most economical ways to deliver your message to a wider audience. While not every company development warrants one, there are many perfectly apt occasions to write a press release and many reasons beyond immediate pickup to distribute it.
Press releases introduce a company to the media.  New and old media expect to hear about a new company or product via press release. Whether it’s a fancy release with audio and video or a more “plain vanilla” version, the comprehensive, well-written press release is still the best way to get your information into a familiar, digestible format for the media.
Press releases save editors time. No reason to get extra clever with it or mess with the basic style, a succinct press release answering the “5 W’s” is what most editors need to get a story started (or finished). Editors appreciate a brief, timely release with all major questions answered in the first grafs. A well-worded quote that advances or enhances the narrative  (and, that doesn’t start with “We are thrilled to…”) scores points as well.
Even press releases that aren’t immediately used... may pique interest for a future story. Usually when an editor says he cannot use a story at this time but sees possibilities for the future, he means it. Or, sometimes the news will be passed on to someone who can use it.
“Search” loves likes press releases.  High-quality, useful content that media use or that you post yourself can be effective for building search rank, although Google has rightfully cracked down on promiscuous use of keyword-stuffed newswire releases.
Press releases help media connect the dots.  A company’s “newsstream” can tell a story of growth, innovation, success, or strategic partnership-building.

Visitors to your website expect to see current news. Nothing takes credibility away from a company like a website with an empty or outdated press section. A steady stream of current press releases adds vibrancy and relevance to your company’s site.