When a writer for Fast Company agrees to write a “first dibs” article for your company blog, it is all at once flattering (OMG! She’s gonna do that for lil’ ol’ us??), but also – ah hem – kind of scary.
Because…what if…everyone likes her better?
Inflated egos notwithstanding (and in true entrepreneurial fashion) this week we are thrilled to take the risk of Wendy Marx eclipsing us so that you…yes YOU…can gain interesting insights from one of the PR industry’s finest.
Read. Enjoy. Tweet. Discuss. Comment. Re-post. We promise not to be offended or to take it personally if this goes viral:
Getting First Dibs on the Future of PR and Media
By Wendy Marx
Want a peak into the future of PR and media?
Expect to see in the coming years a more ballsy, diverse PR profession that is less obsessed with scoring a big hit in old-time media than capitalizing on niche and non-traditional media. And expect to see a reimagining of media storytelling tools and tactics coupled with a new PR-journalist alliance.
At least those were the prognostications of some seers of PR and journalism at a PRSA Tri State District event titled “PRX: The Future of Media.”
One fact is patently clear: PR and its first cousin, journalism, are in a whirlwind of evolution of redefining themselves.
What’s ahead and how do you succeed? These PR and media crystal ball gazers articulated a roadmap of the future. Here are ways they recommended to get your own toehold on the future:
Shed the veneer of sameness
Decrying the commoditization of PR practitioners who are spit out of the PR factory in the same mold, Fred Cook, President and CEO of global PR agency Golin, urged the mostly female audience to dare to fail and keep more balls (or ideas) on the table. “Failure is the best way to success in your career,” said Cook, who regaled the audience with his failures as a doorman, chauffer, tennis player, and school teacher as chronicled in his book, Improvise: Unconventional Career Advise from an Unlikely CEO.
Offer sharp opinions
News today has become a commodity as it is as plentiful and always on, according to Richard Galant, CNN senior editor, opinion. “Who wants to share a three-hour old story?” he asked. The news glut has opened the door to opinion including CNNOpinion, the Huffington Post, and Bloomberg View to name a few commentary sites. This gives PR professionals a new forum to showcase a client’s personal slant on a timely news topic.
For the future, Galant said CNNOpinion will feature more video as it rolls out its own video team along with more unconventional ways of telling stories including video, infographics, and cartoons.
Help reporters after a story runs
While PR professionals have always worked to cultivate relationships with reporters, the relationship doesn’t subside after a story runs. PR professionals can help a reporter or blogger publicize his or her story.
“If you can work with a journalist to get the story out on social media, that’s important,” said Chris Allbritton, senior editor/writer, the Daily Beast, encouraging PR people to ally with a journalist on post-publication promotion.
Target non-traditional and niche media
Where earlier in Brendan Lewis’ PR career, getting a hit in the WSJ was the ultimate brass ring, today as director of communications of Foursquare, he and his team are targeting non-traditional and niche media. For example, when Foursquare earlier in the year announced its unbundling of its app, it chose to work with The Verge on an exclusive. The reason: It was able to get more in-depth coverage including multiple videos. “They gave print magazine quality to us,” said Lewis.
Make long-form content more engaging with visuals
With people spending 38 percent more time on Mashable with long form pieces than a shorter piece, Mashable is beefing up its long form content to attract new audiences, including embedding content from Instagram and Snapchat along with photos, video and graphics. The idea is to attract new audiences in new ways, said Megan Hess, assistant editor, Mashable.
Don’t let PR be a female ghetto but attract more males and a more diverse group of people into the profession. “We all need to be champions for diversity,” was the message of Barri Freidman Rafferty, senior partner and CEO, North America of Ketchum.
What do you see in the future of PR and media? Please share your predictions in the comments below.
Wendy Marx is president of Marx Communications, an award-winning B2B PR and content marketing boutique agency. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.