It’s no secret that bloggers have completely changed the media landscape, that consumer skepticism has driven brands to be more innovative and that social media has forced companies to reach a new level of transparency. Over the past few months, I have noticed a few other trends that are driving major shifts in the role of the PR professional.
1.The Internet is killing the “expert.”
Leveraging “experts” has always been a great way to garner earned media coverage for clients. Experts are trusted resources that can organically land media placements while seamlessly plugging brands into the segment. Now that anyone with an Internet connection can share their expertise with the world, the once “trusted expert” is becoming a joke.
Consumers are realizing that anyone can declare themselves an expert making it more challenging to prove an experts credibility. In fact, some experts are beginning to question their own credibility proving that no one is really an expert.
We are all just learning as we go.
Luckily, it is the learning that is the most interesting.
2. Freelancers are taking over traditional media.
The internet shook up the traditional media world right around the time the economy collapsed; driving major layoffs across publications. In the first six years of the millennium the number of freelance writers has increased more than 300% with no signs of slowing down. Today, more than 70% of magazine content is written by freelancers.
PR professionals are not only challenged to seek out relationships with freelance writers, but are also challenged to create story angles that publications will buy.
3. Statistics are becoming irrelevant.
The growing use of visuals in social media marketing along with the realization that data visualization is a powerful way to break through the clutter and drive consumers to action, has incentivized brands to find new ways to leverage data in their marketing creating a plethora of branded statistics.
In the same way consumers are skeptical about brands that claim to be “natural” or “green,” they are beginning to pay more attention to the statistics they are seeing and what those statistics actually mean. Companies like PayScale, OK Cupid and BirchBox are finding innovative ways to leverage useful statistics to increase SEO, drive buzz and position themselves as experts in their field.
4. Bloggers forced advertising and editorial departments to talk to each other.
In traditional media, the role of PR has always been centered on garnering earned coverage for their clients. Editors and Journalists churn out massive amounts of content on a daily basis and PR has always been able to provide story inspiration and assets to help create interesting stories.
Many PR professionals approached bloggers in the same way they approach traditional media. What they didn’t realize was that the work of creating content, engaging in social media, and building massive audiences was often a full-time job. Unlike journalists and editors who receive a salary and benefits for their work, bloggers were making little to no money from their sites, which made them wonder why they would promote billion dollar brands for free. Bloggers began requiring compensation for creating branded content and the role of PR changed once again.
Traditional media’s advertising and editorial departments, which were once divided, began to work more closely together. Over the past few years, garnering earned media coverage has become more challenging than ever, forcing PR professionals to become more educated on the business of media channels and find out of the box ways to garner the coverage they need.
5. Content curation put the success of a brand into the hands of the consumer.
Thanks to social media and the growing popularity of content curation,everyday consumers are becoming powerful influencers. Every brand wantsa viral video or a social media campaign that drives major buzz but few brands realize what it takes.
The success of a brand’s content lies in the hands of their consumers.
Brands are challenged to understand what drives consumers to share content and how they can create the content that consumers will organically want to share.
What other trends are you seeing pop up that are shifting the role of PR?