Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Six Reasons PR is Not Dead...Yet

There are a lot of people who like to predict the death of things.

Long after TV was supposed to kill off radio (as depicted in "Video Killed the Radio Star," the first video aired by MTV), pundits have been declaring the deaths of LPs (that's what came before CDs for those born after 1982), VHS and VCRs (replaced by DVDs), DVDs (replaced by blu-ray), landlines (replaced by cellphones), incandescent light bulbs (to be replaced by compact fluorescent to be replaced by LEDs).

I know I left off fax machines, but most people seem to have forgotten about faxes.

What's interesting is that not all those technologies have died as predicted. But that hasn't stopped people from continuing to make similar predictions about other things.

Like PR, for example.

At a panel on PR and social media that I moderated for the New England Venture Network (which we cosponsored) as part of BREW Boston (Boston Regional Entrepreneurs Week), the question of PR's death came up right away.

In fact, the question came up earlier that day on Twitter as people discussed that night's panel.

Half the panel -- comprised of blogger Paul Gillin, Xconomy's Greg Huang, BBJ/Mass High Tech's Galen Moore, and Fortune.com's Dan Primack -- came prepared to say that PR is dead.

I think that PR as it was conducted in "The Sweet Smell of Success" circa 1957 is dead. And PR the way it was conducted 15 years ago or even 10 years ago, is, if not dead, certainly not doing well.

But PR as it can be practiced today is not dead. It has evolved, however, just as advertising and journalism have evolved.

In fact, I think that PR, advertising and journalism are all in the boat, and that we all need to figure out new ways of operating.

Here are some reasons why PR is not dead:
  1. Despite the hype, a lot of companies still are not fully engaged on social media. For those companies, especially, PR is still an effective way to communicate their story.
  2. The media is certainly evolving, but it's still important to work with them. PR still handles this best.
  3. The press release continues to be a useful tool, the panel declared. Even if it is no longer the most important component for making announcements, it's still part of the announcement process.
  4. Advertising can still be very expensive, and not just for startups. Public relations can be a much more cost-effective way to market a company. Paul Alexander at Liberty Mutual recently told the Ad Club of Boston that PR is great, cost-effective resource to handle social media.
  5. Advertising functions and agencies can position a company and find key differentiators, but they don't necessarily know how to work with editorial, reporters, etc. (For that matter, we wouldn't know how to create and place ads.)
  6. As this year saw, thanks to BP, Toyota, H-P, poor communications can make crisis communications worse. PR can be best positioned to plan for and execute communications during a crisis.
On the other hand, the sole reason that PR is dead is because of the rise of social media.

Let me know if you think I left out a reason why PR is not dead. Or if there are more reasons why PR is dead.

Here are some other articles that discuss whether or not PR is dead:

Newspapers Are Not Dead Yet

If flat is the new black when it comes to corporate profits, than a small decline in readership is the new fashion for newspapers. The print editions, anyway.

While the WSJournal saw an 1.82% increase in its circulation, the rest of the top 25 saw a modest decline -- which is good news, actually.

Check out the Journal article here or check out the poorly formatted list (below).

Top 25 U.S. Daily Newspapers
Newspaper Name Total Paid Circulation M-F as of 9/30/10 As of 9/30/09 % Change
The Wall Street Journal 2,061,142 2,024,269 1.82%
USA Today 1,830,594 1,900,116 -3.66%
New York Times 876,638 927,851 -5.52%
Los Angeles Times 600,449 657,467 -8.67%
Washington Post 545,345 582,844 -6.43%
New York Daily News 512,520 544,167 -5.82%
New York Post 501,501 508,042 -1.29%
San Jose Mercury News 477,592 N/A
Chicago Tribune 441,508 465,892 -5.23%
Houston Chronicle 343,952 384,437 -10.53%
Philadelphia Inquirer 342,361 361,481 -5.29%
Newsday 314,848 357,124 -11.84%
Denver Post 309,863 340,949 -9.12%
Arizona Republic 308,973 316,873 -2.49%
Minneapolis Star Tribune 297,478 304,544 -2.32%
Dallas Morning News 264,459 263,810 0.25%
Cleveland Plain Dealer 252,608 271,182 -6.85%
Seattle Times 251,697 263,588 -4.51%
Chicago Sun-Times 250,747 275,641 -9.03%
Detroit Free Press 245,326 269,729 -9.05%
St. Petersburg Times 239,684 240,146 -0.19%
Oregonian 239,071 249,164 -4.05%
San Diego Union-Tribune 224,761 242,693 -7.39%
San Francisco Chronicle 223,549 251,782 -11.21%
Newark Star-Ledger 223,037 246,006 -9.34%

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How Has Social Media Impacted PR? Boston Panel to Discuss

It's obvious that social media has impacted PR, and a panel of expert journalists and bloggers will discuss the changes they've seen in their own work lives and in how their interact with companies.

Join me at "Using PR and Social Media to Generate Buzz for Your Startup," hosted by New England Venture Network (NEVN), the largest network of young venture capital professionals on the East Coast.

Panelists include:
  • Paul Gillin, author of The New Influencers (2007), Secrets of Social Media Marketing (2008), and Social Marketing to the Business Customer (co-authored with Eric Schwartzman, January, 2011).
  • Gregory T. Huang, National IT Editor and Editor, Xconomy Boston.
  • Galen Moore, staff writer, Mass High Tech & Boston Business Journal.
  • Dan Primack, senior editor, Fortune.com.

"Using PR and Social Media to Generate Buzz for Your Startup" is scheduled for Oct. 13 at the offices of Cooley, LLP at 500 Boylston St., Boston Cocktails start at 6:30pm, followed by the panel at 7:15pm. Admission is free, but attendance is limited.

To register, click here: http://nevn.eventbrite.com/.