The Future of PR – Are You Ready?

Brian Solis, a public relations veteran in San Francisco, wrote a fascinating article entitled, “The State of PR, Marketing and Communications:  You Are the Future.”  He writes on a variety of issues dealing with the public relations industry, how some social media has become “spam,” and tells of the need for communication practitioners to transform themselves into something more than press releases and newsletters.

A key point in Brian’s social media discussion is – as I’ve said many times in the past – there are too many people claiming to be ‘social media experts,’ when they don’t adapt or change their views in an ever-changing world.

I’ve often wondered how people can dub themselves experts with something that evolves on a (literally) daily basis?  What makes one person an expert when another discovers an innovative way to utilize new media?  Does one claim expertise when they use social media every day?  Trust me, I’m no expert.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around the concept.  I think, as an industry, we’ve barely scratched the surface.  Every time a light bulb goes off, something new pops up and makes the light bulb blow.  The question may be, in my humble opinion, “how does one keep up?”

Brian describes social media as being:

…bigger than simply integrating a Blogger Relations branch to your PR strategy. It’s an opportunity to engage directly customers and peers who either purchase or recommend the decisions of others. Engaging and inspiring these individuals requires new techniques, methodologies, and an undeniable understanding of who they write for and why they should care about what you represent.

Many senior level communicators don’t want to learn new, and potentially effective, ways to spread their message.  “Let the new guy learn about ROI and blog mining.  Those college kids already know how, and I’m too busy to learn.”  Honestly, do you want your company’s message to be left to the new guy?

We, as integrated communicators, must remain vigilant to our task  – delivering quality, concise, correct information to the target audience.  We must take it upon ourselves to learn more, adapt to an industry that is changing at light speed and invent new ways to deliver.  We may not become “experts” but we need to understand the playing field.  Solis concisely states this when writing, “Don’t contribute to the atrophy of our industry.”

The article makes many great points.  I can only hope that communicators everywhere take the time to read it and walk away with something.  The WORLD is watching what we do, literally.  Don’t we owe it to ourselves to shine?

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