This is a book excerpt from “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” by Ronn Torossian, and is available at:
The 24/7 Rolling Press Conference
Times have changed drastically. When people ask me what my next few days will look like, I often ask them if they know what the top headline in the newspapers or the most popular Google search result will be tomorrow or next week. Since they can’t predict
either, I can’t tell them what I’ll be doing. The digital age has created a 24/7 rolling press conference that has changed the face of PR forever (marketing and advertising, too). Around-the-clock cable news stations, social networks, newswires, bloggers, tweeters, and “Diggers”—everyone is in PR these days.
Whether they realize it or not, anyone commenting on the Internet or participating in social media is doing PR. They’re creating trends if they are commenting on stories, tweeting, and making videos that are spread quickly and able to reach millions within hours. Pros are competing with or reacting to mommy bloggers, self-styled political pundits writing from their basements, and anyone in the street with a smartphone sending live messages and uploading videos.
Want proof? The world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, was killed in a top-secret mission. Who broke the news of his death first? It wasn’t CNN or Fox News. An individual on Twitter got the news out before any of the major networks. Keith Urbahn, chief of staff to former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, tweeted the following: “So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama bin Laden. Hot damn.”
Businesspeople with brands to protect or build can never leave the “podium” (those who know me know that my BlackBerry and cell phone rarely leave my hand). In fact, for many years I kept my BlackBerry by my side all night. In an ADD world, everyone expects instant responses and immediate satisfaction. Try not calling back or e-mailing your best friend for 24 hours; he’ll probably think you died. Getting a “couldn’t be reached for comment” mention in a newswire story that runs on 80 websites, simply because a reporter didn’t get a call back within the hour, is not a result you want. Businesses are required to continuously keep on top of what’s going on and to have the ability to give quick but thoughtful responses. This has made the world of professional PR even more complicated to navigate.
Owning a PR Agency, I realize that times have changed forever – and it’s not just because of the relatively recent rise of social media.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR.