PR Pros MUST Become Creators and Curators Of Valuable Content
Looking at the traditional media world, it seems like the sky is falling. Newspapers and other traditional print publications are closing or great reducing budgets and staff. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, we have seen these changes coming for awhile, they are just now starting to arrive. Does this mean that newspapers and other forms of traditional media will no longer exist? No, the will continue to exist in a different form, because our society needs these type of media watchmen.
The evolution of the traditional media business is impacting more than just newspaper and magazine newsrooms, the decline of traditional media can be felt in the nervous vibrations that are coming from most public relations agencies around the world. For years the bread and butter of public relations professionals has been media relations. Pros have long been judged on their ability to get a “big hit” in mainstream consumer publications. While companies still need exposure and media attention, the vehicles to getting it are quickly changing.
The truth is that media relations professionals should be one of the groups best equipped for the changing media landscape. Media relations professionals have always succeeded by building great relationships, creating value and interesting content for media outlets. In addition that have had to be skilled in educating journalists in a clear and concise manor. This skills transition perfectly to the user generated media landscape that is growing daily around the world.
It is my contention that to be successful in the 21st century that public relations professionals have to become better listeners and more over MUST become creators and curators of valuable information. Meaning that PR people regardless if they work at an agency or in a corporation need to counsel their clients that the communication model has changed. Gatekeepers are breaking down and companies now have the ability to talk directly with their consumers through user generated content and search engines. The question that companies must ask themselves is what do they have to say that their customer wants to listen to.
I am not going to stand here and preach that the world of top-down messaging and official legal statements is over, because that would be a load of crap. Instead I am saying that companies can say what ever they want and if a company spews worthless crap information then no one will listen and the company will become irrelevant.
That is why now more than ever PR people have to become consumers of information. They have to have their finger on the pulse on the type of information their clients customers are consuming to understand how to best make the client relevant. PR pros have to become better storytellers and need to serve as aggregators for information around a topic or industry and as aggregators PR pros will be able to incorporate the clients story in to the overall thoughts of the industry.