Publications and journalists have always sent emails to brand owners and PR agencies to find news worthy stories (known as media requests); but this has changed to some extent due to social media.
Almost 96% of journalists in the UK alone are using social media to find and cover news stories. This however doesn't mean email is not important anymore; in fact email remains a powerful mode of communication amongst businesses and the media. Albeit it's been a while journalists complaining about emails and stories sent to them (by brands and PR agencies):
Of course it is understandable brands are hiring PR agencies to attract more attention; but it is important to realise how to attract attention in our digital economy. Competing for attention in our digital era is different and to some extent challenging; due to mobile and multichannel attribution.
Brands want to sell around the clock but it seems they've found it challenging to engage with their customers around the clock. Of course costs and so many other factors can impose limitation on brands to engage with their customers around the clock or at least close enough to 24/7.
For that reason, psychological analysis behind behaviour is crucial; to understand how to compete for attention and where to spend money for strategic brand positioning.
Brands and their respective agencies need to go beyond marketing and traditional PR; if they pursue success and sustainability. This is all about genuine engagement and building strategy to earn brand loyalty and credibility.
People are savvy and they know where to find the right information. They tend to trust what they see on social media more and even engage with journalists and newspapers on channels such as Twitter and Instagram. Integration is the name of the game.