Peter Gorman is a featured contributor to The Definitive Guide to Public Relations in a Shifting Media Landscape.
Here's the complete contribution:
As a high tech public relations professional for close to 25 years now, I have seen a wealth of change in technologies, as well as how these changes have impacted the PR business. Here are three of the most important trends I am seeing:
The Agency is Dead
While companies have long depended on agencies to help hone their messaging and promote their offerings, a new trend towards hiring independent consultants is now on the rise.
Companies, especially boot-strapped start-ups, are realizing that they need to gain a bigger bang for their marketing budgets. While agencies may offer a team of people to work on the account, teams are often made up of people with varying levels of expertise and it is often the less experienced team members who do the bulk of the work.
By hiring a consultant, companies can trust that the person driving their PR efforts has deep connections with the media and the experience to know what works best to gain coverage.
Businesses are also realizing that they can hire consultants for a lot less than agencies. Instead of locking into a year-long retainer for upwards of $20-30k per month, consultants offer businesses much greater flexibility to focus on specific campaigns and change according to the needs of the marketing program.
So, for example, one month a business may want to focus on a new product launch and then switch to drive an analyst relations tour. Instead of paying a huge fee to cover both of these areas, many consultants will charge fees that adjust to the program.
The other big trend that I've seen that ties into the decreasing need for a full-fledged agency is the ability to work at any time and from anywhere. With newer Cloud-based technologies and the ability to easily share live editing through Google Docs and other solutions, there is no longer a need for a physical office space.
Today, the PR professional can work comfortably from their home office. And if a conference room is required, they can simply reserve a space in a co-working environment, such as WeWork.
Since a greater number of PR professionals are now working from their home offices, costs incurred from renting office space is diminished and this trickles down into greater cost-savings for the client.
Traditional vs. Social
We are seeing a greater dependency on social media for gaining brand recognition. In addition to leveraging LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube to get key messages out to the masses, a growing number of journalists are now asking that they be contacted through social media for story ideas.
As PR professionals have long read trade magazines and newspapers to see what particular reporters are writing about, they must now monitor the social media feeds of these journalists to get a better sense of what is currently on their minds and leverage this information to make a connection.
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