PR: The last five years
It was the 20th February 2012, Instagram was only two years old, MySpace was well and truly dead, Facebook Messenger only just existed and Snapchat hadn’t even raised it’s first round of funding yet.
That was the day I started my PR career.
Somehow it has been a whole five years since I embarked on my PR journey as a naive undergraduate with no clue how to pitch a journalist. Now, five years on, as a Director of the business, I thought it might be a nice time to reflect on what has changed in the industry in those five years.
It seems an obvious one but five years ago social media wasn’t as high on the PR agenda. When I started at Neo PR we had lots of clients that were too scared to touch LinkedIn, let alone send out 15 updates a day from a Twitter account. I think social media has been a journey for many B2B organisations and it is one that as an industry, we have had to drive.
And in general, social media has gone from strength to strength with its offering. Five years ago Facebook was still refining its mobile offering, launching messenger and other functionality; Snapchat was just a baby and received its first round of investment in December 2012; you had to request to join Pinterest and wait until you were accepted; Instagram was just a toddler and nobody had even thought about social media selling. Roll forward five years, every one of my clients has a social media strategy, we are all addicted to our mobile apps and I have just written a blog about the next phase of social selling and the advances of chatbots. How things change!
Content is at the heart of a successful PR campaign and that hasn’t changed – how people digest content has. A huge part of what I have learnt during the five years at Neo PR is how important it is to give your content multiple lives. One thought leadership piece can go a long way if used correctly and with many more channels to feed – social media, blogs, forums, online comments – the ability to re-purpose content where possible is a must.
Everybody talks about the “PR lunch” – champagne flowing, good food and charm. I wish! I was never lucky enough to be in PR at a time when this was the norm but even in the last five years this has become harder than before. PR’s aren’t the only people that need to feed multiple channels, journalists are faced with the same problem. They just don’t have the time to spend three hours with one PR talking about work for 30 minutes along the way. You can likely get them out for a quick lunch, coffee or even a cheeky beer, but their time is precious and you have to be careful about how you offer to use it.
It is an industry worth $65 billion and it shows no signs of stopping. But when did SEO become so important and how did PR get dragged into it? It was only in 2011 when Google released its Panda update that SEO became ever more relevant to many organisations. As Google set out to penalise websites with irrelevant, non unique content, PR began to play a much larger part.
The content produced within a PR campaign now has an added task – help the client rank within its desired keywords. And it is a measurable that most clients want to know about! It is more important now than ever before that PR teams think about the impact the content and coverage has on SEO and proactively places it within websites that are not only relevant but high ranking themselves. And with the SEO industry set to grow to $79 billion by 2020 – it looks like it will be high on the PR agenda for a few years to come.
I am proud to be one and I am proud to work with many. I think Millennials have given the PR world a new lease of life, especially when it comes to being creative. Young people fresh out of University are full of energy, ideas and a willingness to learn – five years ago that was me! And the best thing about them is that they get it – social media, bloggers, brands, technology (even coding) and the Instagram life!
They want to be able to share cool pictures with their friends of the great events they went to, amazing coverage they received and the people they met along the way. Which means, they will come up with the most creative and exciting ideas you can think of. Win, win!
How do you think your industry has changed in the last five years? Tweet us your thoughts @NeoPRltd.
P.S. Happy Neo PR Birthday to me!