Public Relations Glue Factory >> This Way

[I'm PRWEEK's guest blogger on the Insider
this week. This is the second post in a series which is kindly being
edited by Rose Gordon, News Editor. I'm cross posting it here, but if
you have thoughts, please comment on the original post here. First post is here.

Consider the following:

• So far this year there were 13,434+ layoffs in US newspapers.

• For most organizations, public relations means media relations.
This is the service that accounts for the majority of the time, fees
and skills.

• Fewer media = less media relations = lower fees/budgets.

Companies don’t need to spend so much time on media relations if
there are fewer media to relate to, but fear not, social media to the
rescue! It’s ok if we spend less effort on media relations because
we’ll spend more on social media.

Perhaps, but it’s not a given, nor is it an equal because of the following:

• Some companies might not embrace social media

• Many organizations will implement social media in-house with a small team rather than outsource it

• Agencies beyond the PR realm are claiming a valid stake in social media

• It requires different skills that the current PR departments and firms might not have.

This last point is the kicker. Regardless of the speed of transition
away from media relations, the skills required for social media are
more visual and technical than traditional PR. The tools we use today
might not be those we use in five years. Already they are different to
five years ago (WordPress, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn etc).

Media relations won’t go away, and those skills are transferable and
desirable. Yet, the skills and knowledge we will all need in the future
are not the ones we have today. For veterans, this means working out
how to translate those talents to a disintermediated world. For
newbies, it’s an opportunity to carve out a valuable niche.

We’ve seen the pain of transition in the agricultural and
manufacturing sectors as new technologies come along. We’ve witnessed
firsthand the impact the social web is having on the media. The
Internet changes the economics of every industry it touches. Now it’s
happening to you.

It’s terrifying, but also exciting. Good luck.