Twenty years ago, this summer I founded Hostetler Public Relations. The date popped up on LinkedIn, and I appreciate so many professionals, friends and colleagues who’ve sent greetings. Two decades. WOW! Yes, a long time. And if I had to write a resume, this is the only job I’ve ever known—working for clients.
Back in 2000 when I took a leap of faith to become a freelancer (we’re now called independent practitioners), there were a lot of people who gave me that look. You know the one that says, she’ll be back in the workforce in no time. I readily admit my mantra was I would find a job if I couldn’t figure out how to make a small business run. But I did. And I’m proud of the clients I’ve supported, the professionals who I consider part of my team and myself for learning how to make this go each day.
Recently I thought back about what’s stayed the same and what’s changed in public relations. The foundation of public relations remains consistent–developing a well rounded plan with consistent messaging and supporting tactics. What’s changed are the tools we use to do business. Cheers to 20 years and the advancements made along the way that make work so much easier.
- Phones … desk phones attached to walls compared to smart phones used anywhere
- Internet … dial up to Wi-Fi (it’s everywhere!)
- Computers … desktop with towers to laptops and iPads
- Calendars … paper to Palm Pilot to just pick one (Google, Outlook etc.)
- Email/Contacts … the rololex is gone and now our contacts are in our email systems on computers and in smart phones
- Smart phones … combo email, calendar, music, photos, games and more in one place
- Where we work … home offices were taboo and now they’re the norm
- Coworking spaces … are a great sense of community for business owners
- Blogs … were going to save the world and today they’re good for Google keywords
- The cloud … still wondering where it is, but great for saving/accessing files from anywhere, anytime
- Websites … from building in code and PHP to simple Wix and WordPress
- Graphic files … from mailing hard copies for waxy mark ups to emailing for comments via electronic notes
- Media databases … who remembers the box arriving with the Burrelles books the size of Yellow Pages directories; now it’s all online
- Sending news releases … PR people spent days printing, mailing and licking envelopes to send a news release; now we text, email and use the cloud (refer to number 10)
- Yellow Pages … today it’s called Google; for years clients thought we were crazy to advise not to pay to be included in a print directory
- Social media … it’s here to stay for better or worse yet systems for posting are so much easier via Hootsuite and similar programs
- Newsletters … paper newsletters have gone the wayside, and everything is via email with links to websites
- Media outlets … this one makes me sad seeing so many great media companies going defunct over the years (please support journalism and a free press!)
- How we meet … face to face meetings are now via Zoom; fingers crossed this is a fad
- Last but not least for sure … the clients and people I’ve met over the last 20 years are fantastically talented and supportive. Thank you to each of you!