PR: the Forever Progressing Profession

Every Friday, I spend my eight hour work day writing, editing, scheduling and posting some form of digital media for our clients. It is no surprise that the PR profession has been drastically changing alongside of the newest technology and the interconnected digital world. The current state of the PR industry is in a unique position. It is becoming a two sided industry, half sticking to traditional media and the other turning to digital media.

There are a lot of discussions within in my workplace and my masters program on what the future of PR is going to be.

Beckoning three major questions:

  1. Is traditional media dying?
  2. Is digital media taking over?
  3. What does this mean for those working and going into the PR field?

Is traditional media dying?

Dan Verakis, SVP and director of public relations at Cramer-Krasselt, wrote a compelling article for prweek.com. He explains how the demand for “traditional” media isn’t dying but it is changing and so are the ways we consume traditional media.

“Take, for example, the evolution of recorded music technology – from vinyl to CD to digital streaming. People haven’t stopped enjoying music, they’re just consuming it differently. Likewise, people won’t stop enjoying traditional news media sources anytime soon, they’re simply consuming it differently.”

I completely agree with Dan’s conclusion, now a days the amount of traditional media coverage online for our clients is significantly higher than the print coverage. But nonetheless, whether it be hard copy or online, the news sources are still considered “traditional” media. Along with other mediums, traditional media is not dying, it is just evolving with the latest technology.

Is digital media taking over?

More and more of what we do every day is digital. With the shift of what “traditional” media means and how media is consumed, Sabrina Horn is CEO of Horn Group, explains what these changes and going digital means for PR on forbes.com.

Sabrina says, “What makes communications today ‘digital’ is the delicate combination of PR with these interactive Web capabilities and social media – all the channels by which a company now gets the word out about its brand.”

Going digital means that PR campaigns have to be integrated and interconnected across various platforms and channels. The press release while effective is not the only tool used in PR anymore. When the press release and story is published, our job is not over, we have to engage with the digital world. We tweet, we blog.

What does this mean for those working and going into the PR field?

While the PR sphere continues to shift and adapt to a more digital landscape, this is the edge that younger generation has when it comes to landing the PR job, but it is also our biggest disadvantage. The PR industry is running at two speeds now, to thrive you have to be proficient at both traditional and digital media. The skill gaps between the traditional PR professional and the digital PR professional have to be bridged.

An article by Brittaney Kiefer, explains just how much more is expected of the PR professionals in the digital age. She says, “…clients demand an approach complete with traditional elements such as media relations, along with an enhanced skill set that includes efforts around point of sale, Salesforce training, building apps, and Web design, just to name a few.”

I think when looking towards the future of the field, there are agencies like Edeleman that have become both a product and service company for its clients. Not only can agencies provide the communications service it is becoming more important to produce a service with a product (like this client dashboard) that is effective, relevant and its success can be measured.

That is my take on the matter, what do you think? How do you think PR will change with the digital landscape? Comment below I would love to hear your thoughts!

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