September 10, 2008

Up PR Creek Without a paddle

Posted in A walk on the "dark side" tagged at 9:06 am by R

The hysterical and spot-on Richard Laermer and Kevin Dugan of Bad Pitch Blog (God help me if I ever show up there!) wrote a poignant post about what the changing scape of journalism and the shifting influence of media means for the public relations industry.

Says Kevin:

Everyone I know wonders whether these papers (and a whole host of magazines) firing just about anyone who’s not a star will affect our little PR industry. They’re asking:

1. Will their cuts be followed by mega-ones on our side?
2. Does this mean talented reporters will take the good jobs in PR?
3. Finally: Who will we be pitching?

Is our world or public relations about to implode? Bad Pitch thinks not and I agree.

It’s not about print media anymore. That front page hit of the local paper doesn’t amount to much. On-line hits resonate, they can be searched for, headlines are texted to subscribers, search terms are delivered to RSS feed subscribers…and a print hit just sits there.

Here’s the real gold of the article, especially as a Gen Yer who sees the writing on the wall and wants to lead this budding little agency into the future.

Kevin continues:

If your boss or client wants to “be in the paper” and doesn’t count anything that doesn’t kill trees as real media, now you just have to buy a better printer. Soon, he or she isn’t going to be able to count much except what’s online.

The metrics are changing faster than I can type this. The old fogeys who can’t figure why a blog post is better than a few words in the Atlanta Journal are going to have the point proven expediently. Stop them in their tracks by showing them Technorati rankings and compare them to the 200,000 readers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (and for a kicker, show them the paper’sonline rankings, which are probably lower than most uber-popular blogs).

The key is not to cling longingly to the way things once were. To be exceptional PR professionals, we need to be ahead of the curve, move with the change — not fight it.

Our industry isn’t going anywhere. We just need to leverage our strengths to reach a new brand of journalist and meet them on their court…the Web.


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