PR: Present and Future
Social Media Holds the Key
In retrospect, I had no idea the blog itself would be so popular, but I did know there were people just like me, discovering social media and trying to figure out how it related to both business and brand.
This new craze isn't really all that new. The elements of social media have been cropping up for a few years. Social media is a bit of a mashup itself - using technology to share videos, photos and text in new ways that inspire conversation and require engagement. But, for those of us in media and public relations, it represents more than new tools. It offers new communication methods and more importantly, a fresh approach to the game.
For PR pros, social media offers the advancement of the industry to a more tech-savvy way of doing business. I've been criticized in the past for my "hyping" of the impact social media methods will have on media relations. There is no doubt in my mind that we are part of the beginning of a major shift in PR as we know it.
The way journalists, bloggers and PR pros communicate is already changing. With aggressive approaches by people like Peter Shankman and Brian Solis, media will pitch PR pros, and vice-versa, instantly through social networks and other methods. With PitchEngine, PR pros will deliver complete press contents via social media releases which until now, were limited to bulky press kits or expensive websites, while media will be given added controls like press content filtering and approval over pitches from unknown contacts.
These are not just new tools, they're new logic. And as more PR pros introduce media to these efficient and effective avenues for PR delivery and interaction, the more mainstream the methods become.
While those things are happening now, bigger changes are yet to come. PR distribution as we know it will change dramatically, just as news distribution has. Spending money to push press releases out to thousands of writers at once will be replaced by more streamlined and social methods. Media will need press content faster, and more concise than any RSS feed can deliver. And, as media tire of content-overload they'll discover new ways to seek-and-find the content they're after. Online, PR will become more targeted and industry-specific than ever before. Believe it or not PR will be more intimate as a result of technology.
And who says media will always be the focus? The biggest shift in PR won't come in the form of a tool or a widget. I believe the lines will blur, even more, between PR and marketing entirely. By engaging brands and clients in social media, PR pros will serve as innovative new marketers. PR will truly be "public" as pitches go directly to consumers, instead of media. How? As social networks evolve and the web becomes more customized, consumers will be connected to brands through their network interests, search habits and voluntary approval of desired brands, politicians, organizations, you name it. News distribution has already evolved and is becoming more and more personalized (see socialmedian). It's just a matter of time before PR will have to adapt.
As I've said before, I'm not an "expert" strategist or PR guru. I see the potential for social media and it inspires me to challenge tradition and share the possibilities with you. It's driven me to start a business, create a network and share my experiences with marketers, PR pros and media alike. How will it inspire you?
Original post on PitchEngine, where PR Meets Social Media.