A related topic that I'm talking with more PR teams about is the idea that their job today is less about interacting with and more about being media. What was once the realm of traditional media – capturing, developing, and reporting a story – is now accessible to anyone, especially PR people.
Outside of the knowledge and skills of traditional journalists, few have a better understanding of how to tell a story for mass consumption than the PR team. The mediums to tell a story become more accessible and expand online, but the skills at the center of this trend are well within the PR toolkit.
The biggest change for those responsible for telling the brand's story is the proliferation of channels to tell that story. Online and social media create as much an opportunity as they do a challenge. In a traditional PR role, there is a single target for our message – a filtered channel with defined rules and roles, stated deadlines, and measured reach.
Today we see a number of channels and formats to document, create, and fill with content. As more of your responsibilities involve managing a brand online, here are some things to consider:
1. The media has changed. So should our approach.
2. It's not about the brand. It's about making a relevant, implied connection to the brand by showing how the brand fits into people's lives.
3. We must evolve to meet the changing landscape of influence.
4. The tools, channels, and strategies are constantly changing – adapt.
5. It's no longer enough to have a one-dimensional view of and relationship with media. You are the media.
There's good news in all of this. The ability to tell a story, in multiple formats, from multiple points of view, will always be a relevant skill. Adapting to this change now will serve you and your clients well in the future.
Brad Mays is SVP of digital strategy and innovation for Fleishman-Hillard.