21/10/2010

By Paul Smith, Citypress

We should stop talking about what’s ‘dying’ in the world of media and start looking at the great signs of life says leading Manchester PR consultancy Citypress.

Running a campaign has never offered more varied or affordable opportunities to the PR consultancy or company planning it.

Traditional techniques are still there — we still write press releases and they still get printed in actual newspapers - but media relations is now so much more.

The pace at which agencies have caught up to social media and the digital revolution is not always their fault — consumer and branding agencies were always going to latch on to blogging, Twitter and the power of Facebook before financial corporations or traditional businesses.

But in five years or less, direct consumer/customer engagement via such platforms will be as familiar as having a company website is today.

In much the same way that organisations slowly turned towards the power of Corporate Social Responsibility and the reputational benefits it could bring, businesses of all sizes, in every sector are realising that these conversations are already taking place about them in this very public space.

To paraphrase, it’s better to be on that page taking part rather than watching your reputation be re-written by others.

PR consultancies, digital agencies and web designers are all more collaborative than they used to be — there is a strong digital-fronted networking scene in most cities which sees all sizes of players getting together to share ideas, seek inspiration, team up. Surely a good thing which small and medium-sized businesses have the opportunity to tap into.

But what of journalists and ‘old media’ — embracing online but still struggling to find a profitable model in the new world order? Who will pay for content?

It could be PR companies that hold the key and we’re already seeing the most savvy news operators move this way.

News organisations are powerful brands - something most recognise with events and award schemes etc. And, whatever the strongest digital evangelists will tell you, many clients still crave the third party media endorsement of such a brand — as well as their online engagement strategy.

The PR industry needs to work with media outlets to solve this issue and find intelligent content to fit all platforms rather than simply see print as a repository for press releases.

Digital is the future but there’s credibility which can still be leveraged from historic media brands.

Paul Smith, Head of content, Citypress - www.citypress.co.uk


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