If there's one thing that links all PR pros today, it's the almost daily news that journalists we've worked with for so long have lost their jobs or their publications have closed. If it's done anything, it's hastened – and not always positively – the need for practitioners to become more adept at working with online-only publications, bloggers, and other outlets. This includes everything from new sourcing and research tools to different ways of measuring outreach.
Something our team in my last agency-based position was tasked with was ensuring that the firm's staff, and our clients' teams, were able to adapt quickly to this new environment, either through tools like RSS readers, research/measurement services such as Google BlogSearch or Quantcast, or simply by keeping them updated on the latest news, as well as knowing which writers/bloggers/podcasters might be interested in hearing about client news or products. Just as with any other learning situation, it was always helpful to have a go-to quote or visual aid. Here are two I used regularly that are just as valid in 2009 as they were in 2005.
The first was a quote from Michael Gartenberg, currently VP of strategy and analysis for Interpret. He made this comment in a 2005 blog post while with Jupiter Research:
"Interesting anecdote. Several vendors have told me recently that they're not overly concerned with what Walt Mossberg says about them anymore. They're concerned about what Peter Rojas is saying about them on Engadget and what he's telling his audience both online and offline."
The first step in evolving is recognizing a shift in the environment around you. Gartenberg noted something very simple, but important to his business – not at all an affront to The Wall Street Journal's Mossberg et al, but the advent of new influencers.
One year earlier, Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson released a short film, "EPIC 2014," depicting some theoretical major media shifts. Intriguing, yet not totally prescient, it seems to have forecast the mega-fast way we're all keeping pace with today's electronic media as it rearranges.
If you're a PR pro looking for a way to achieve more buy-in to changing the way your whole agency or team does business, these two examples might be helpful in driving the point home. It's increasingly vital that all staff, both veteran and newcomers, grasp what their future is all about and how they need to continue servicing their clients at a high-level, irrelevant of outside factors. You might not be able to develop a relationship with Googlezon, but you should certainly start making them with the people whose hard work finds its way into the Googlezon.Tom Biro is senior director of communications at MTV. His column will focus on how digital media affects and shifts PR. He can be reached at http://cms.haymarketmedia.com/1%20To%20Rosefirstname.lastname@example.org