Is PR Evolving? Can it? What Will it Look Like?


The media landscape is clearing changing. Print newspapers, some in existence more than 150 years, are either closing or shedding their print operations and shifting to online-only.

There are significant implications for journalists and J-schools.

But also for PR agencies and communications functions. We still need to work with print outlets.

But is PR evolving to address the new media reality? I suspect many are not fully embracing the future, based anecdotal evidence (potential clients are all interested in social media, but view it as a nice-to-do, not a must-do).

The question we ask over here is: what does PR look like in three years, and what steps must we take to ensure we’re moving ourselves and our clients in the right direction. (We got some validation recently when a client, who had rejected our recommendation two years ago to embrace social media, finally did so, and thanked us for pushing them in that direction.)

What happens to digital agencies that have claimed bloggers and social media but have not worked with traditional soon-to-be online-only media? What happens to traditional agencies that have not focused much on social media? And what happens to internal PR functions and how they allocate resources?

A colleague heard a client say that PR is a dead field. I disagree, though I do think there will be a lot of agencies who can’t make the transition from silent flicks to the talkies, to use an analogy current about 80 years ago.

I don’t believe that social media is only a customer service channel, and therefore you no longer need PR.

To succeed, functions and agencies alike will need to think about how they can facilitate communications and generate meaningful results and benchmarks.

For a look at how science journalism and PR is evolving, check out this article on the blog, Flack’s Revenge.

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