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The Nature of PR is Changing As The Industry Adopts More Tech


The world of marketing has transformed due to the influx of tech into the industry over the past several years. Today, marketers use a plethora of tools to not only hyper-focus their targeting and automate their workflows, but also have an enormous amount of data at their disposal to further iterate and measure the returns they receive per dollar invested in their campaigns to reach their benchmarks. Public relations on the other hand, is largely stuck in the early 2000s in terms of technology and innovation.

Despite the tools available to them, a huge number of PR professionals are still using tactics and tech from the early 2000s. For instance, many still manually input journalist information into spreadsheets. Then, when the list is complete, they send their pitches to the journalists using a simple mail merge software at best, creating impersonal correspondences. This causes journalists to feel more like a number to be checked off a box than a person, and ultimately leads to worse PR results.

The lack of technology in the PR industry also leads to the embarrassing act of double-pitching, i.e. having different people pitch the same story to the same journalist. 

This is a result of data silos within PR teams as people on the same team are unable to know who pitched which journalist what. And perhaps worst of all, it’s difficult for most PR professionals to prove their value to their clients or organizations as they have no way to show how their work affects the bottom lines of their clients or organizations in a concrete way. It’s tough to imagine that this kind of low-tech operation would ever be okay for marketing, so why is it for PR?

The New World of PR

Well, the good news is that things are changing in the world of public relations, as there are now  tools which enable PR professionals to do their job in a better, more efficient manner. For instance, by utilizing AI it’s possible to understand at a glance exactly what a journalist covers before pitching them. Or, by looking at pitch metrics such as open and response rates, PR pros can now see what’s going on in their pitching campaigns in real time to understand what’s working, and iterate pitches until they find the one which leads to the best results.

With all of these new analytics tools and AI at their disposal, many PR pros are now able to do what marketers have already been doing for some time – automate their workflows, enhance personalization and measure ROI and performance. By having a thorough, data driven understanding of which media outlet or journalist wants what kind of pitch, PR pros can fine tune who they send pitches to, generating quality coverage without spraying and praying.

Customizing the Message

As a part of this digital transformation, PR professionals are also beginning to turn towards new media.

With specialized podcasts and blogs about everything under the sun, it’s now possible to create a pin-point pitch for an industry podcast or blogger to get them to speak about your client or organization.

This is especially important given how people are creating their own media bubbles, so the more a PR pro is able to pinpoint its messaging to this customized form of media, the more targeted reach the company will have.

Given the changing media landscape and consumers’ changing media preferences, PR pros need to update their strategies as well as their technology if they want to stay relevant. Gone are the days of simple email pitching. In today’s world, the person with the most data is the person with the highest likelihood of success. Thankfully, this change is happening.

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Zach Cutler, Co-Founder, and CEO at Propel PRM
Zach Cutler is the Co-Founder & CEO of PR technology platform Propel PRM. Prior to this he owned and operated his own PR firm – Cutler PR – for nine years, and was the PR firm of record in the US for 70 tech startups, 5 of which went on to become decacorns, and 15 of which went on to become unicorns. A graduate of the George Washington University School of Business in Washington, DC, Zach currently resides in Tel Aviv, Israel.


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