When confronted with a brand new calendar, everyone's natural inclination is to ponder what the next year will bring. This has resulted in the festive tradition of making predictions about what changes will occur over the next 12 months in whatever field you have some expertise.
Lest I be accused of being a Grinch if I don't participate in the mass prognostications that the season demands, here are my predications for the public relations industry in 2008.
1. The buzzwords of the year—the ones the industry will overuse and be heartily sick of 364 days from now will be: engage, educate and entertain. These three words are becoming the essential descriptors to use when touting mobile marketing, widgets and other Web 2.0 applications, and all three will be bludgeoned to death by sheer repetition by 2009.
2. The PR industry will continue to abuse and overuse the words "viral," "enable," and "solution."
3. Somewhere in the world, right this minute, someone is making the daring prediction that social media and Web 2.0 are going to change PR forever. That said, the purported wonders of Web 3.0 will begin to creep into client pitches in 2008.
4. Throughout 2008 and into the foreseeable future, press releases will continue to be written in the same format, since we all know that the PR Gods will strike you dead if "XXX company, a leading provider of XXX," does not appear in the first two sentences of the release.
5. Agencies will continue to send out self-promoting press releases that no one wants to read in 2008, regurgitating the same reasons why their newest client hired them. BTW, has anyone ever seen an agency send out a press release saying why they have been fired by a client? Isn't that newsworthy? Inquiring minds want to know!
6. In 2008 you won't read a single release quoting a company spokesperson as saying that they hired this particular PR agency because "our VC firm told us to" or "my CEO told me I had to."
7. People will continue to go on the record as being very excited about working with other people/partners/companies, all of whom are the leading providers of whatever it is they provide.
8. PR industry seminars in 2008 will not look much different from those that took place in 2007.
9. PR people will spend much of 2008 quietly worried about an impending recession that will slow their business, while simultaneously loudly complaining about being "crazy busy."
10. Clients will continue to judge agencies by the number of clips they generated instead of against the original submitted proposal that outlined objectives, goals, team, and deliverables.
11. At least one reporter in America is lying in wait, happily finalizing his or her plans to insult the PR industry again.
12. The number of PR Bloggers will shrink in 2008 because PR people really don't want to read blogs about PR. Right?
Have a great 2008.