|James Franco Survives|
In a provocative blog post titled “How B2B PR will fail in 2011,” Bliss PR‘s Elizabeth Sosnow pondered whether B-to-B PR could survive with the same old service offerings to which it has long grown accustomed.
She observes that in the B-to-B space “The number of [trade] reporters is shrinking at an alarming rate.” Yes and no.
|Bliss PR’s Elizabeth Sosnow|
Elizabeth went on to list:
“…the current products that PR believes will solve the problems of a changing environment: Bylined articles. Social media. Newspaper quotes. Trade shows. Media pitches. Press releases. TV appearances. Messaging.”
She then asks:
“How long do we think these will truly meet the evolving needs of reporters and our clientsâ€™ targets?”
I RT’d her post, which prompted an exchange on whether content creation and syndication is the answer to our industry’s identity crisis and long-term viability. I truly believe it is.
Those who follow my various musings will know my feeling that in spite of all the changes we’ve endured these last few years, client goals remain the same: each desires a positive branded presence in the media. Of course, the media itself looks remarkable different than just five years ago, and the means for achieving that media presence has evolved.
I suppose if you bucket our “offering” into four categories of media, you’ll get a better sense of how the industry will sustain itself moving forward:
- Earned Media – Yes folks. My clients (and yours too) still value (and pay for) our ability to convince a journalist to report on their products, services and POV’s. This core competency is not going away anytime soon. Just check out the audio clips from PCNY, the club I run, to hear directly from journalists advising on how best to engage them.
- Paid Media – As the lines blur between the various marketing disciplines, many PR folks will find themselves in positions to advise on ad spend. And it’s not just TV spots or print display. Paid media also entails SEM (Google AdWords), paid product placement in TV/web/mobile programming, blogger incentive programs, promoted Twitter trends, etc.
- Shared Media – Today, the Wall Street Journal reported on the Washington Post‘s newly created subsidiary SocialCode to help businesses build their fan bases on Facebook. Buddy Media has built a hugely successful business helping companies tap Facebook’s sharing DNA. While Facebook may be the gorilla of the social media set, countless other communities of online “sharers” exist and can be activated to help clients build their brands.
- Owned Media – As more and more individuals consume, create, curate and share their news and information via digital devices, it is incumbent upon the modern communications professional to help his/her clients build their digital footprints. Sure, it’s always nice if Wired magazine pays attention to your client’s cool new app, but a compelling video demo of that app can have extra sturdy (and controlled) media legs when Stumbled Upon. (Didn’t Stumble Upon just surpass Facebook as a feeder of social media traffic?) And isn’t good story-telling our industry’s most notable and valuable deliverable? Here’s a recent look at how fashionistas have created their own(ed) branded content.
Elizabeth summed up her post as follows:
“Our product is now content. Hereâ€™s what PR content is becoming:
- Customer stories
- QR Codes
- Curated â€“ or aggregated â€” streams of information
Take a careful look at that list. How many of these elements are in your planned 2011 PR programs? Can you afford a lack of experience with these products?”
No. We can’t.