Seven Predictions for the Future of PR

10 02 2012

It’s usual to post predictions for the year ahead in the first week of January rather than well into the second month.  Convention also dictates that thoughts for the future should come in nice round batches of ten.

My main reason for not posting earlier in the year was that I was holding back my ‘Mystic Meg’ style musings on the direction of PR for the Insight Twelve event brought to you by those wonderful people at Don’t Panic. Now that’s a mere memory, I’m sharing them here.

There’s no science behind the number seven.  That’s all I could muster, there are also no guarantees attached but the insights fall into three categories: no brainers, highly probable and debatable.  The last of these doesn’t indicate that I’m not convinced, more that others disagree.   You decide which is which.

1. Social Media will vanish

Strictly speaking I mean the description rather than the ‘thing’ itself.  The notion that social media marketing or PR exists in isolation of other channels will quickly disappear.  So called mainstream media is becoming more socialised, so I see the distinction evaporating and we’ll talk about media again not social or conventional.

2.  The link between PR & Search will become more significant

The top results on Google are the most important single influence on the reputation of any organisation or individual.  Search engines are also in a constant battle to promote natural search elevating real news and information. That’s where the enlightened and educated PR person comes in.

3.   The dymamics of the journalist and PR relationship will alter

This isn’t my prediction is was made by the hugely insightful journalist and blogger, Tom Foremski.  He has said “PR people … are pitching stories to journalists who have very much smaller pageviews on the stories they write, and far smaller Twitter/Facebook communities to which to distribute their stories, than the PR people.”  He also saw this trend over two-years ago.  Read his full post here.

4.   The decline in print and in newspapers will accelerate

No-one could have predicted the closure of the UK’s biggest selling newspaper in 2011.  It was prompted by scandal but owners NewsCorp know that they have to reduce their exposure to print. Circulation, pagination and title numbers will all fall in 2012.

5.   Video content will become more evident in PR campaigns

The growth in video consumption is astronomical. Apple TV will demolish the wall between web TV and current broadcast platforms.  Cost of production is in free fall.  You do the math.

6.    The definition of PR will change to reflect the reality

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is leading a global campaign to modernize the definition of public relations. It is addressing the prevailing confusion about public relations’ role and value and it is doing so in an open and engaging way.

7.    The reality of PR will change to reflect the impact of social channels on reputation

At the Think 11 conference last May, Colin Byrne, CEO UK and Europe, Weber Shandwick and Robert Phillips, CEO (EMEA), Edelman, both identified that the practice of PR was changing and that reputation was now built on action not spin.  We would do well to heed the brightest leaders in our profession.



One response

10 02 2012
Chris Norton

Rob this is the best post you have written in ages and agree with pretty much all of it. Especially that social media will just become media – you just have to look at how journalists report direct from people’s twitter streams now.

Brilliant post – well done.

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