What is Old is New Again

June 27 2022

To share its 30-year anniversary with all PR and communications professionals around the globe, the Public Relations Global Network is sharing 30 pearls of wisdom from its senior members and agency leaders.

The 30 pearls – some of the network members’ best tips and advice polished in the past 30 years and dazzling to show direction for the next decades in PR and communications – were published in an eBook at PRGN’s anniversary meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, in May 2022. The eBook is also available for downloads on the opening page of the PRGN website.

Below is one of the 30 pearls from members, expanded to fit PRGN’s regular blog series. It is written by David Fuscus, President of PRGN, a former Secretary and Business Committee Chair of the organization. David is President and CEO of Xenophon Strategies, PRGN’s partner agency in Washington, D.C.

Over the past 20-plus years, no industry has been disrupted more by technology than public relations and communications. At the turn of the millennium, PR was largely earned media, working directly with journalists to spur stories or becoming a trusted source for inclusion in organic articles. Think about it. In 2000, most people got most of their news from professional journalists: physical newspapers, television broadcast and cable news and, to a lesser extent, radio. Then came the transformative power of technology.

technology and news in PR
Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

In rapid succession, the companies that would transform the way we consume information and connect with each other were founded: Google in 1998, Netflix began streaming in 2007, Facebook in 2004, 2005 for YouTube, Twitter launched in 2006 and Instagram in 2010. When Apple ushered in the hardware revolution with the iPhone in 2007, it poured gasoline on the bonfire of change and the flames burned everywhere through the established communications world order. We started to do everything differently; shopping became more than an occasional package from Amazon, changed how we interacted with friends and began to consume information in new ways 

In 2022, the public is bombarded with information and a primary task of PR is to cut through the mountains of clutter to reach audiences.

A key aim for any PR campaign is to establish credibility early on. Each person has their own process for judging what information is credible and for many that is – rightly or wrongly – social media. But the most important fundamental for establishing credibility for a story or pitch is still earned media. The planning process for all PR campaigns have several mandatory components, including audience identification, communications avenues such as earned media, social, digital advertising and others. But none of these tactics will work if audiences do not consume the story. And to consume a narrative, people first must find it credible. And the best way to establish credibility is still with a story done by a professional journalist published in a known outlet.

Today, working with professional journalists has become just one element of a PR campaign, but still a critical one, because just like 20, 30 or 40 years ago, the first question to ask when designing a campaign is: “So, what’s the news?”

David Fuscus
President/CEO, Xenophon Strategies, Inc.
David A. Fuscus is president and CEO of Xenophon Strategies, a highly focused public relations firm serving many of the world’s largest companies and organizations. Fuscus has enjoyed a career in politics and communications, having previously served as the Chief Spokesman for the U.S. Airline Industry; Deputy Chief-of-Staff to former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge; Director of Communications for the U.S. House of Representative’s Transportation Committee; Press Secretary to former Congressman Bill Clinger (PA) and as a top campaign aide to President George H.W. Bush. Xenophon was founded in 2000 and has key practices in public affairs, public relations, reputation management, crisis communications and government affairs. The company is headquartered in Washington, D.C.