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Social media have shaken up the PR industry beyond recognition. In fact, social media have caused the first and only real PR revolution in the industry’s more than 100 years of history.
Actually, without the opportunity to make something go viral, social media would be nothing more than the good old Web 1.0.
After twenty successful years in journalism, I left it, vividly remembering that You can achieve a lot with journalism, but you should know exactly when to quit.
As already noted, the only legitimate way for a PR representative to pay media would be if you purchase content that is clearly marked as paid or sponsored.
At first glance, it might seem as though the death of the press release was slightly exaggerated. After all, press releases are still in circulation.
By definition, however, PR should be trying to achieve virality for its stories - that's one of its goals.
Different social media networks are used for different communication to the extent that the written word still prevails over visuals. However, in the future, it will be other way around.
Each of the three parties might have its arguments, but it is my strong conviction that the PR business will emerge on top in this future merger of the three industries.
Even in the age of the social media revolution, PR's essence remains the same as always: honesty, integrity, and preparedness to react.
First of all, the word newspaper doesn't really exist anymore, because the first part, news, is gone from it. What's left is only paper.
For years now, PR has been developing services in the era of social media that cover more and more communication needs. That`s the part of the reason why PR will be on top of the future merger of the three industries.
However, in PR, we communicate messages. Going back to one of my original points, if we produce anything, it's news stories. Regardless of what you call your message, it is news. If it doesn't contain news, then you probably aren't doing a very good job.
I have been aware of the undeclared war between PR and advertising ever since I entered this industry more than twenty years ago.
If the PR industry suffers from this negative reputation, it is because many people associate our profession with politicians and business people who use various contrivances and tricks to conceal or whitewash their flaws and wrongdoings.
In 2019 the revolutionary advent of social media has now reached its full swing, and 100 percent of all deeds, thoughts, deals, and acts in our lives are public.
In my work as a PR expert so far, there has never been a case in which we have paid even a single cent for media coverage. Not on our behalf, and not on behalf of any of our clients.
In the same way, when newspapers began to die and social media started its supreme reign, we didn't imagine the risk of fake news.
It requires an understanding that there is no difference between PR and social media anymore. From the point of view of a top-notch PR expert, they have become one and the same thing.
Live communication, live contact, and live presentation are becoming increasingly dominants in our lives, let alone in our business. So everything that's not live is doomed to quickly become already known, obsolete, and boring.
Many things will disappear from each of the three main communications industries so that a new industry can be born. I don`t know what it will be called. It could be named social relations.
Nevertheless, even though our industries are at war at the moment, the merger of PR, advertising, and digital companies, as already noted, is absolutely inevitable, because clients need full-service communications consultancies.
Nowadays, some 60-70 percent of our clients turn to us as PR consultants - and it seems to be exactly the same everywhere in the world - for two main reasons: crisis management and reputation management.
Our PR business today has increasingly less in common with the business we used to do just ten years ago, let alone a hundred years ago. Pretty soon, it will look nothing like its former self.
Perhaps the spreading of fake news shouldn`t be criminalized as a felony, but it must be penalized in some way, and there should at least be court trials for that.
PR experts need to be brilliantly trained and prepared. That's not just good sense - there are very concrete and powerful reasons for that... We used to have between ten or twelve hours to solve a crisis. Now we don't even have ten minutes!
Regardless of how the PR business may have developed over the years, we always used to be a transmission, a sort of bridge, between our clients and their clients.
Regardless of this forecast, however, we still must take into account the fact that many people used to lack a decent understanding of our profession, and many still do.
Regardless of what is done in the wider communications industry, PR will always be linked to content creation. And that content remains textual, first and foremost.
Social media's almightiness has brought about many things, but the main one is transparency. Total transparency everywhere and for everyone.
Some PR professionals have been slow to grasp the scope of the paradigm shift brought by the social media revolution in our industry. Many who have grasped it have been slow to keep up-to-date with it.
Ten years ago, in order to be able to spread news, you were supposed to have a major in journalism, have a press card, and be called a journalist. Otherwise, you couldn`t. Now, to spread the news, all you need is a social media account.
That's what social media has done to our business. At the same time, it has made the PR industry infinitely more measurable, and much more transparent.
The big issue with newspapers is that there is no one to fund them anymore. Nobody can support them and bear the costs in the new environment of public communications revolutionized by online media and even further by social media.
The main feature and top advantage of social media, which has made it such a powerful instrument in the hands of PR experts, is the ability to share - and especially the intriguing possibility of seeing your post go viral. In that case, your post is so catchy and contagiuos that it spreads like an epidemic and can consequently become a pandemic.
The one-time ubiquitous emblem of classic PR, the press release, has technically been dead for a while now. To be a bit more precise, His Majesty the Press Release has been dying - a relatively slow death, but a death, nonetheless. And there is no coming back. Now we are in the afterlife, thanks to the social media revolution.
The perception of PR agencies as editorial teams in the years of social media revolution is all the more relevant given that traditional media are no longer just endangered species, but are actually going extinct.
The perception of the PR expert as a creative liar is going to die over the next few years. It will dissolve as a notion in the public mindset, because liars simply cannot exist in modern PR life.
There are other classic PR instruments - press conferences, media meetings, business brunches, business conferences, etc. All those are now replaced by posts on social media, and occasionally still by personal meetings with journalists.
Therefore, it makes no sense for advertising to even compete with PR, because advertising is not competitive anymore. PR`s edge clearly rests on creative and strategic services.
This new world of total transparency and the previously unimaginable abundance of data is the level playing field in which only true PR professionals really stand out based on how they can position a client's message in the most efficient and beneficial way.
Today, thanks to the social media revolution, clients actually own media and consequently a platform to express themselves.
Today, the PR business is 100 percent measurable. You can demonstrate with utmost accuracy who read what, when they read it, what gender they are, what education they have, what country they are from - we have all kinds of data to the smallest detail. That, too, is related to the transparency of our business.
Today, we are right there with the social media and hold it in our hands. In my opinion, such change of ownership always means revolution, regardless of its direction.
Visuals are becoming an inseparable part of our work as PR experts. Yet at the end of the day, we, the PR experts, are the people who manage content. We are the masters of content, whether it's textual or visual.
We in the PR industry now hold in our hands new tools for announcing news - and those tools are beyond exciting! These new tools are faster, more reliable, and - what probably matters most - they are interactive.
We, the PR consultants, have in essence turned from consultants into decision-makers, because now decisions have to be made instantaneously. Just because of that one change, the PR business is totally different from what it used to be.
While the death of the press release could be construed as more symbolic, the death of the press conference has actually been even more evident and overwhelming for the PR industry in the social media revolution era.
While thousands of people had been aware that newspapers would go extinct, nobody had really imagined certain disturbing developments in the new media, and more specifically in social media.