building blocksGuest post by Harrison Kratz

A while back, I was involved in a discussion among my PR student community about the balance between social media and public relations.

While social media is a major factor in the future of PR, some students felt that we were all too focused on social media and forgetting our PR roots. Personally, I am adamant that many traditional PR tactics are fading. We need to have an innovative mind when learning how to adjust to the social world and industry we are now immersed in.

(Forgive me if I sound like a naïve millennial. I’m just speaking from what I’ve seen and the path I’ve been fortunate enough to take.)

That said, I think there are many fundamentals that are essential to succeed in the digital age. Unfortunately, many young professionals and students have seem to forgotten them, or aren’t applying them to new strategies and tactics that are taking the industry in a new and fruitful direction.

Here are three communication fundamentals that resonate no matter what tools and strategies we evolve with.


Just because we can now share our message or communicate in 140 characters or less does not mean writing is a lost art. In fact, I’d argue that it is more important than ever.

Writing concisely is an art and will make anyone a linchpin to his or her company.

A great tweet shouldn’t be filled with abbreviations, but rather contain a message that used to take a full page to say. When solid fundamentals combine with the knack for brevity that is required in social media, you will see that skill set carry much further than Twitter. You will start to communicate more efficiently and swiftly with media, bloggers, and your community.

Press releases

I will be the first to tell you (again, I’m a millennial) that the traditional press release is virtually dead. With so many new ways to spread our messages, a simple press release doesn’t exactly cut it.

That said, a good press release has always contained all of the information that one needs to learn about a certain event or product.

It’s important to remember how to write a great press release because it will allow you to understand what you need to include in your social media messages, and how you can relay the important details to your community while being brief and engaging.

I continue to refer to press release templates as a way to ensure I am including what is necessary.

Good old networking

I know, this must be millionth blog post about this, but another reminder can’t hurt right? I learned so much about networking etiquette and just how to get out there and meet people during my time at school and in PRSSA, and those lessons ring true today. The importance of face-to-face interaction will never be replaced nor diminished.

Online communications bridge the gaps and connect us with those that we wouldn’t have the pleasure of meeting otherwise, but the strongest relationships are still formed and nurtured through in-person interactions.

Never underestimate the importance of a great handshake and conversation.

I’m not saying anything particularly new here. But I felt it important to revisit the fundamental lessons we have all learned before too many young professionals are too distanced from them.

Social media and communications are not about the tools. We need to understand the fundamentals because the tools will change and the importance of adapting will increase with each step.

What fundamentals still ring true for you as social media continues to gain more and more importance in public relations?

Image: Nazly via Flickr, CC 2.0

Harrison KratzHarrison Kratz is the Community Manager at MBA@UNC, the new Online MBA program at the University of North Carolina and sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive.