Monday, April 24, 2006

More Thoughts on PR's Future

Some things struck me about Richard Edelman's April 14 blog post about the evolution of Mainstream Media (paraphrased throughout):
"Mainstream Media (MSM) on-line believes in the concept of 'entwined media,' where the same story content is used across platforms (video, audio, databases, analysis, print, on-line) ... consumer control (will come) not in terms of time shifting (the DVR concept) but in terms of media selection appropriate to need."
According to Edelman, some of "the implications for PR folks" include:
Reporters expect PR folks to send ready to use digitized content... Pictures matter more than ever.

MSM reporters are ambivalent about bloggers as a news source. Don't count on the bloggers being the on-ramp to stories in MSM. Most of the MSM reporters are not bloggers and are operating in walled gardens.

Don't be disappointed with a placement in the MSM on line version and persuade your client that in fact you may get more traction with this approach as first choice.
These thoughts intrigued me.

Re: "ready to use, digitized content" ... It seems Edelman is suggesting that PR folk become more like "story producers," who need to provide a multi-media package to reporters. This is akin to what Tom Foremski suggested with the "press release of the future" concept, e.g., "make it easy for the reporter to cut-and-paste their way to a pre-packaged story." If you follow the "producer" analogy, then reporters become the on-air anchorpeople for stories fully manufactured by PR producers.

That's all well and good (I think), but we need to send out 100's of pitches a day to get a handful of great stories published... PR folks can't prep too many multimedia-laden stories without some fairly immediate payback on their time investments (i.e., the reporter accepts the story for publication). Meanwhile, I can already hear reporters' complaints about how "PR people ssend me too much stuff, too many links, too much video - I don't have time for that!"

Ultimately, we'll adopt a hybrid approach: a quickie pitch gets a nibble and then the PR pro puts together a multimedia package that facilitates a professional edit-cycle by the reporter. To get there, though, the quality:cost ratio of professional-grade video production will need to improve, and, "Search" (with a capital S) will also need to become more refined, to ease the time crunch PR pros will face when putting together stories for their journalist peers.

Re: "blogger ambivalence" ... this does not surprise me; it heartens me that the MSM reporters are playing their traditional role of "editorial filter." Blog relations are aligned with "grassroots" campaigns. Not every grassroots campaign catches the media's attention, but at the end of the day, the news media reports on news: the blogosphere itself is news; thus, what catches fire in the blogosphere will become newsworthy.

Re: "online vs. print hits"... Good lord, is this still an issue? Online = forever. Print = birdcage liner. 'Nuff said.


Anonymous Tom Foremski said...

The PR sector is finally starting to get it... you guys are almost there. I've been trying to help you along ...:-)

April 27, 2006  

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