This is the third and final post in the blog panel series I’m participating in with Krim Stephenson, John Sidline, and Frank Strong. Be sure to check out my first and second posts on how social media impacted 2009 and what it will bring in 2010.
Looking forward to the year ahead of us and beyond, I see several challenges and changes facing the public relations industry. The three main ones I believe will have an impact sooner than others are demonstrating ROI, affirming credibility, and adapting to mobility.
1. Demonstrating ROI
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Public Relations, a Look Ahead in New Media, Veronis Suhler forecasted a drop in advertising spending for 2009, and further in 2010, while public relations is expected to see an increase. This shows companies are recognizing the benefit of PR campaigns more and more. And if they’re willing to invest more in PR, they’re going to want to see more return on their investment. I talked about this briefly in my last post in terms of measuring social media, but I think this is going to be a trend across all aspects of public relations. Clients will start asking us to show how that article or press release upped their website views or generated sales leads, but it will be equally important to demonstrate the intangible aspects of PR like awareness and brand visibility too. A successful approach to doing this is something the industry as a whole is still struggling with, but one that will need to be discovered in order to meet these anticipated demands.
2. Affirming Credibility
Today, anyone and everyone can post on the internet, which means targeting key, credible publications is going to be more important than ever. But showing clients why such publications are credible and influential is easy among the big names like eWeek, ComputerWorld, Network World, and the like, all with high readership and longstanding reputations; however, the real challenge will be with new media. Blogs and podcasts that have been around for a much shorter amount of time, and whose readership is harder to measure, will be harder to affirm. Targeting ones that reach your clients’ key demographics and have a strong archive of relevant posts and topics will be essential in the coming years.
3. Adapting to Mobility
People can access anything from anywhere nowadays – so in the coming years, as this gets more and more pervasive, it will be increasingly important to penetrate all kinds of media. Since people now have the ability to choose what gets delivered to them on such a thorough level, you want to be visible each step of the way to become a key influencer. People no longer have to sift through the newspaper to find the technology column, they just simply subscribe to that column’s RSS feed and it gets sent straight to their smartphone. The consequence is that people no longer have that “wandering eye” that briefly skims over those other sections in search of the column they’re interested in. Without that “wandering eye,” they’re not likely to stumble across a headline that might be of interest, which they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. Public relations needs to get creative and target all types of media and industries to reach maximum viewers to catch their eye in new ways.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog panel series. Be sure to check out what the other panelists are predicting on their blogs:
- Krim Stephenson: Blog panel part III: Long-term trends
- Frank Strong: Blog panel Part III: Outlook for PR beyond 2010
- John Sidline: link coming soon