The Future of PR is Now

Last week, thanks to the invitation of one of our partners in the , I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of marketers at the American Marketing Association’s Michiana Chapter in South Bend, Indiana. The topic was “The Future of PR” and what I quickly realized was, I and the rest of the team at JS are already living out the future in our work every day. Here’s a quick synopsis of my findings and prognostications:

All Media Are Equal

From Anderson Cooper, to CNN, to blogs, to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and even word of mouth…it’s all news now. Think about the and how much of the coverage was driven by cell phone cameras, Snapchat, text messages. And, the coverage itself is changing – The Orlando Sentinel has a full video series on their website with images and stories of each of the victims. They would never have been able to dedicate a whole page to each victim in print, but with the appetite out there for content, they have an opportunity and an obligation to do more in-depth coverage, tell very personal stories and drive page views.

Transparency is Non-Negotiable

Whether organizations like it or not, transparency is here to stay. Social media has created a situation where employees can share what’s happening inside their organization, and speak out against what they consider to be injustices – or share what they are happy about. Video footage can be recorded anywhere, by anyone on cellphones. If your message is not in-line with what’s being shown or recorded, your customers will always resonate with what their peers are saying rather than what the brand is saying.

“Hyper-Realism” is a Thing

Instead of spin, we’re now in an era of hyper-realism. Elon Musk cancelled a rude customer’s order and tweeted about it. WalMart redlined a New York Times article and posted it on the company’s blog. Donald Trump says whatever he wants, has no filter, and is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party.

Content is King

Not just any content, but content that is targeted, relevant, fun and engaging. It used to be that we would put out press releases and maybe a photo to pitch news, but now, we build out an entire content library for a PR campaign. Reporters are moving at lightning speed to try to be first to break a story – if you serve up the content to them, they’ll use it. The lines are also blurred now between paid, earned and owned content. Use paid to amplify your owned content, and chances are, you’ll also get pick-up in earned media if your story is good.

PR is More Important Than Ever

In our world of social media where anyone with a smartphone and social media account has the ability to create news, PR is more important than ever. Ensuring you are using the right medium, message and messenger can not only call attention to your brand, but it can also keep PR problems (campfires) from turning into PR crises (forest fires).

What do you think? Are you also seeing these trends in your business, your community, or your clients’ needs?