When you’ve lived in the world of public relations and communications for as long as I have, you have no choice but to conform and keep up with the times if you want to continue to be relevant.

Back in the day (and yes, I’m really dating myself just by using those words) when you needed to let the world know what was happening in your company or about an event your organization was hosting, all you had to do was write a press release, send it out to your contact list and wait for it to show up in newspapers, on the 6 o’clock news or on a morning radio show. Yep, that’s how easy it was.

Alas, things have changed. The once regal press release, while still valuable in its own veritable way, is no longer king of the PR world. It’s no secret that media outlets, newspapers, in particular, have cut staff. Writers have now become photographers and videographers and television reporters have to shoot their own video, while also telling the story. And because of all this, it’s become harder to grab their attention.

So, what’s the culprit? Easy… by and large it’s social media, which is to a great degree how people now hear learn about what’s happening in the world. It’s also how a lot of them hear about the gazillion different brands there are in this great big, ever changing world of ours.

These days, it’s crucial for PR pros to develop a social media strategy and cultivate relationships with reporters on social media. It’s also vital that you add a visual component – a video or photo grabs attention much quicker. Did you realize that nearly 75 percent of social media marketers and PR pros use visual assets in their social media strategies? They do that because it’s a proven fact that when people only hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10 percent of it three days later. In contrast, if you add video or an image, people generally retain 65 percent of that information three days later.

There you have it – the proof is in the stats. Man (and woman) cannot not live by press release alone. Sure, releases still have their place (I’m clinging fervently to it) but emailing out some facts and figures to your media members these days just won’t get the job done anymore.

If you know your stuff, you’re already utilizing social media to get the word (along with visuals) out about what’s happening in your organization, or to sell your business or product. And if you’re not, get busy because, quite simply, with millions of users social media is a no brainer. If you need experts to help you a develop a sound social media strategy, give us a call at The High Road Agency.