Things my children won’t understand


By Sallie Bale, Director, Communica PR

In life, things change and move on. There are so many things in my everyday life that by the time I have children, will be obsolete. And many things are already going that way. Every now and again, it strikes me that something that I am doing makes no sense in today’s world, and yet makes total sense to me.

My children won’t understand why the international sign for “taking a picture” is putting your hands up to your face in a rectangle and pressing down an invisible button. They won’t know why the icon for “save” is a little square with a circle in the middle. They won’t understand why we say “choo choo” for a train, or “brum brum” for a car, or why you make your signature in the air when you want the bill in a restaurant.

These advancements are not a bad thing. We can now view the picture we are going to take on a screen before we take it, and take as many as we like. The amount of storage space that is now on something the same size as a floppy disk is absurd. And cars and trains are ever faster, cleaner and quieter, so we needn’t lament the loss of their nostalgic sounds.

It makes me think, are their any outdated PR practices that are still common, but make no sense it today’s world?

Isn’t the press release, the very core of PR, an outdated practice? There are many companies out there attempting to become the hub that brings together journalists and marketers in a more efficient way. But I haven’t yet seen any that do a really good job. Mainly because it would involve all the PRs and all the journalists signing up to the same service.

Surely, we have got to a point where a computer can pretty accurate “read” all online AND offline content. So it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for them to learn what each publication and journalist liked to write about. Even words they often use, or companies they refer to often.

Whilst online newsrooms are becoming increasingly popular, and press packs have been around for ever, it does seems as if the delivery of information to interested journalists is also a place for evolution.

A quick note to journalists alerting them that XYZ company has updated their online press office with information that may interest them. Or exclusive information to them. And then only send out urgent or very time sensitive information in an email.

This week, industry magazine PR Week wrote an article on just this topic, but strangely only included views from the PR industry. It would be interesting to hear how journalists think this process could be improved.

At Communica PR we talk to journalists in a whole variety of ways: phone calls, Twitter, email, newswires, cupcakes. Once even by fax. It just depends how they like to be communicated with. We ask the same questions as we do about the target audience, how are they best reached?

What outdated practices do you find yourself carrying out, because it’s what you’ve always done? Is it time to shed the deadwood?

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