Twenty-Ten Soothsaying

OK I couldn’t resist jumping on the new year’s list-making bandwagon.

Along with Brian Solis’s 2009 retrospective of the most influential Twitter conversations (via Klout), Robert Scoble’s top ten tech Twitterers, Scott Monty’s social media takes, Martin Langeveld’s compilation of media forecasts, and John Cass’s round-up of PR (I mean “engagement marketing”) predictions, among myriad others, here are my five PR industry predictions for 2010 followed by six from a year ago.

For 2010:

  • The most successful public relations programs will take a hybrid approach to meeting clients’ communications objectives, i.e., combining traditional PR competencies with social media acumen.
  • PR firms that are not fluent or have successful track records in social media will increasingly lose new business to those that do, especially from consumer-facing clients.
  • The media will continue to fragment as journalists/bloggers, not their media organizations, grow their individual brands…and their ability to influence “the conversation.”
  • The same goes for corporate communicators who will wield increasing influence through their followers and activity in the right social media channels.
  • And, like today, no one marketing discipline can lay outright claim to “owning” social media in 2010. The lines will continue to blur.

From 2009:

  • Twitter, and the countless applications and tools that sustain it, will gain even greater traction among agency and corporate communications professionals in the coming year.
  • The line separating bloggers from mainstream journalists will continue to blur, leading to one amorphous media ecosystem. The most authoritative bloggers will be compelled to adopt accepted journalistic standards and practices, i.e., checking sources, while the vast majority will not.
  • PR pros will continue to explore ways to build their clients’ branded presence on YouTube, Facebook, and elsewhere. However, achieving editorial coverage — both online and off — will remain, at least for 2009, the primary means by which the industry is measured.
  • The era of the “personal brand” will take hold. More and more companies like Ford, Dell, Pepsico, and Comcast will recognize the value of appointing and empowering individuals (versus faceless corporate entities) to engage on their behalf in the online conversation.
  • In spite of many media pundits’ dire predictions, the mainstream media, and specifically news organizations that create quality (eg, highly credible) journalism, will gain new currency and esteem in a post-Bush media environment.
  • The PR strategists for the Obama administration will learn that direct communications to a base of supporters, while helpful, will prove insufficient for advancing policy.

And once again, here is last year’s list of other notable prognostications (for your reality checking fun).