Michael Bush at Advertising Age published a very interesting, poignant article today about the shrinking media market and the direct effect it’s having on the PR industry as a whole. Specifically, the way in which we garner coverage for our clients, engage customers and communicate key messages.
With roughly 30,000 reporters leaving the U.S. newspaper industry in 2008 alone, it’s a sure thing that marketers are looking for new ways to communicate directly with end consumers and disseminate their product messages. We can no longer rely solely on the traditional new product pitch to a targeted list of media in hopes to secure coverage. PR professionals need to be looking at other outlets and platforms (à la Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) to engage their clients’ customers in creative, sticky ways.
The article sites great examples of how companies like Coldwell Banker, Best Buy and Mastercard are using social media tools and original content to reach customers and share messages without having to rely heavily on traditional media write-ups or reviews.
My two cents…Embracing new communication channels is an inevitable and important part of PR this day and age, however it does not lessen the importance of maintaining relationships with traditional media and news outlets. After all, that is what our job is about – relationship building. “Earned media” will always provide a company with a higher level of credibility and help them achieve leadership in their respective industries and we simply can’t forget that.
Click here to read the full article on Advertising Age.
Oh, and Happy Birthday to Digital Advertising! The first digital banner ad ran on October 27, 1994 on Hotwired.com, the first commercial digital magazine on the Web and the offshoot of popular Wired magazine. Great walk down memory lane by Frank D’Angelo at AdAge here.
It’s been two years since I started at Concept Communications and it’s just remarkable to think about how much the public relations profession has changed. Web 2.0 and the social Web have driven a significant shift in PR, taking our jobs way beyond press releases and traditional media relations.
The burgeoning use of social media tools by major media outlets, brands and business professionals, coupled with the necessity to leverage networks like Twitter and Facebook to reach customers, read news and form active communities – I’d say PR has taken on a new, hybrid role. We now support elements of business development, customer relations, marketing and community management. It’s exciting, it’s challenging and it presents new potentials every day for our clients.
Blogs, social networks, video/photo sharing sites, and social bookmarking are no longer trends or a nice-to-do-if-time-permits as they once were a couple years back. They are now an essential part of any effective communications plan and most organizations are starting to realize this. For instance, I can’t seem to watch a TV commercial or news broadcast these days without a Twitter or Facebook URL popping up on the bottom of the screen! And when I griped about an over sweetened vanilla latte from Starbucks on Twitter, I was promptly answered with an apologetic tweet and coupon. The social Web is no longer a novel idea that start-ups and entrepreneurs are using to promote their businesses on a guerilla marketing budget. It’s how brands, businesses, individuals and the news media are sharing content, influencing audiences and affecting behavior.
With all of these social tools at our disposal, it has become essential to be on the “front lines” listening to our clients’ existing and potential customers’ needs. Also, establishing trust in online communities through consistent engagement allows customers to turn to us as a knowledgeable resource and has become a key part of our jobs. The social Web has also made it very easy to stay current by following journalists and publications that report on our clients’ various industries.
So, when you think about it, our fundamental responsibility of fostering relationships and managing communications for clients hasn’t changed, but the way in which we develop and maintain those relations has dramatically changed. We now have so many different avenues to engage in conversations for our clients, reach new audiences and communicate our messages through fun, immediate channels that can spread from one to millions in a matter of minutes.