5 outdated PR terms: refined

I value experience.  I value that I began my career at a time when we were on the cusp of social and internet innovation (anyone remember taking "computers" class in HS?) - I've literally witnessed the shift of communications and the evolution of brand engagement and how it has affected a business' identity. What a great time for PR.

So I can without bias (because I have done all of the following), give my take on the best and worst of some outdated and maybe upgraded terms and practices in the PR world: Both marketing pros and business owners can appreciate.


1. "Key Messages" - Formally, these were bullet points, usually written on cue cards and pulled out for rare occasions like a media interview. But those little cue cards in your breast pocket have come to mean more than just 'answering objections' and 'giving good face'.   Your key messages are like planting the seeds of your core values - tightening, strengthening and focusing on the kinds of attention you want to be associated with. Key messages are powerful, they should live inside your brand bible, be stenciled on your wall and be on the tongues of everyone in your organization. Live it. Own it. Be it.

2. "Media kit" - This used to be a plump little package usually involving late nights, boxes of pizza and a few interns getting paper cuts while tirelessly stuffing manila envelopes and peeling off white sticker labels. Today, a media kit is no longer just for media (in fact some may argue that it is no longer needed!). But truth is that information hunter and gatherers have taken over the online landscape - with an unprecedented opportunity for attention and coverage. So you do want any media person, blogger or fanatic to easily find your best content in one place.  

  • A centralized place on your website where one can find all pertinent information they could ever need to either build a story or create an interview around you, your product or service. Product shots, bios, book resume, awards, speaking engagements, testimonials and media releases or relevant articles, posts, etc.
  • Circumstances may require a targeted email with a short 2 paragraph pitch, followed by a PDF of the same info but in a more visual, 'packaged' form.  Do not send anyone a Zip file, ever.

*Like any other piece of mail - snail or e-version... what is going to get them to open and read is your pitch. Work on your pitch - they'll tell YOU what they need.

3. "Desk side interview" - This literally used to be an opportunity to sit down or engage face to face, with a reporter and getting some real time to connect, foster relationship and get on their radar. (This was even a little before my time) Today's reporters are tight on deadline and marketing themselves. In addition to filing in shorter times they rewrite each story for news, web and social media. Good luck!

Today, settle for a new kind of relationship: authentic engagement. Read their stuff - comment - follow - send good stuff. Don't send crap and they will start to respect you enough to recognize when your name pops up on their email. You can try calling too, but don't waste their time.

4. "Events" - The invites went out, you got catering, signage,  and you even asked the local news guy to swing by. Phew! Now we wait.... WRONG! Hosting an event today is costly and great use of resources. You need to maximize this investment to ensure you get people talking BEFORE, DURING and AFTER. This involves a series of steps to maximize exposure of your message and impact of your product or services by the time the event day comes.  This should involve: pre-, during- or post-launch engagement activities. Don’t get me wrong, the physical event is important too - so take the pictures, feel the energy, celebrate and SHARE! 

5. "Publicist" - If this term brings forth images of a clip board toting, crowd pushing, patsy, who jumps when the marketing team says GO!, then think again. Today's PR pros are smart - (I mean really smart). We have moved from promoter and pushers to brand champions and motivators - your eyes, ears and HEARTS of your core key audiences. Never wavering on the position you need to uphold in the market, and guiding how that message is sent out and promoted across all (yes, I said all) channels.  No longer an after-thought, today's PR pros are a member of your core team who come up with the strategies, not just jump into action when the news breaks. 

If you have more terms to include or your own redefinition of terms and how things have changed - share them here! :-)

Photo by Jiyeon Park on Unsplash