The Future of Public Relations


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Presentation to Virginia Commonwealth University Public Relations Student Society of America, April 18, 2009

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  • Trends in media & public relations – how to build your skills and get the PR jobs of the future, presented by Mark Rose, Partner, Influence Consulting Group, New York, Principal, InfluenceWave. <number>
  • 1967: Five people and a mimeograph machine can start a revolution.2009: Facebook, My Space, LinkedIn, Twitter, et al – printing presses for the masses<number>
  • What is public relations? Definition from comments on PRBlogNews: The management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies policies and procedures of an individual or organization with the public interest, and plans, executes and evaluates a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.We all engage in “public” “relations” – student office, scholarships, class presentations – the “personal ad” is a classic, quintessential exercise in “public relations” – you are promoting yourself, highlighting what you believe are your best qualities, ignoring or downplaying what another person may not like – revealing only your best attributes.A lawyer fashions an argument based on facts to present a case that highlights his/her client in the best light.<number>
  • The 3rd U.S. President: From his Virginia home, Jefferson wrote his seventh annual address to the joint session of Congress. As the third President of a fledgling republic Jefferson understood that public perception was critical to success of a mass ideal. He understood that managing relations with constituents was a key component to his job. Benjamin Franklin spent a good deal of time in France to curry favor with the French for armaments and capital to fight a Revolution and launch an experiment in democracy.<number>
  • The 44th U.S. President: He fought for his Blackberry, makes announcements on Twitter, used social media in an unprecedented Internet-based campaign to win the election. No Presidential candidate used public relations tools to such great advantage.<number>
  • The White House YouTube channel currently has over 30,000 subscribers. The quality of the videos is excellent and they are nicely segmented into easy to search categories. The main White House social media communication channel is, a blog, or rather a blog portal that leads to many other blogs, according to agenda items, government
  • Precisely the minute Barack Obama was sworn is as the 44th President of the United States (noon, Jan 20, 2009), Macon Phillips, Director of New Media for the White House, published his first blog post, titled Change has come to “President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history,” wrote Phillips.PPR – Presidential Public Relations: The White House Twitters an alert to 805,000 followers about an Internet-based “Town Hall” meeting where 93 K people submitted 104 K questions, voted 1.8 M times on which questions the President should answer. He promotes the event on a video on<number>
  • Traditional media in crisis: Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune , Minneapolis Star-Tribune in bankruptcy; Seattle P-I, Rocky Mountain News fold; Boston Globe probably will be sold – all newspapers are struggling terribly.<number>
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  • Tracking the disintegration of traditional media – foreclosures, layoffs, pay cuts, transition to online: media updates total: 8,097+ jobsLayoffs and buyouts at U.S. newspapers in 2009<number>
  • The New P-I: Readers should also expect a site that depends almost as much on its own staff for stories as on guest contributors and the employees of other news entities. It will feature content from various Hearst-owned magazines, and there will be links to stories on competing Web sites. \"The business model that we were operating on in print wasn't working and hadn't worked for years and was getting worse instead of better,\" said Hearst newspaper president Steve Swartz. Dow Jones News Co. content can go to Wall Street Journal, Dow news wires, MarketWatch, Barron’s. Picture: Ron Lieber, personal finance reporter, at his desk, The New York Times.<number>
  • Twitter had 14 million unique visitors in March, up from eight million in February. Ashton Kutcher vs CNN, Oprah & Twitter, the huge importance of Wikipedia.<number>
  • PR has essentially not changed for 50 years. We used to bang out ‘Media Alerts’ on typewriters to fax to journalists, follow-up on phone, send stories up the vacuum tube to be typeset at newspapers. We need a new set of skills – and more importantly – a new vision and perspective in doing our work.<number>
  • What do all the news distribution channels have in common? They are all free – all it takes is your time, skill and imagination.<number>
  • Elance: Great online freelance talent service, cool company, easy interface, valuable service. Elancer actually has useful, targeted information, integrated with social media apps. <number>
  • Three years ago Tom Foremski started a revolution with this seminal blog post imploring PR people to stop the press release madness<number>
  • The ‘social media press release’ or the ‘optimized press release’ – writing for the web, distributing through multiple channels<number>
  • PRBlogNews, April 16, 2009: So, not only do we have serious questions about Domino’s food preparation standards, we question their hiring practices. Finally, Domino’s President Patrick Doyle issued his own YouTube video deploring the actions of Hammonds and her cohort (see last video below).  Doyle is appropriately indignant but he is not looking at the camera (connecting to his audience). Longer term issues, such as the quality of the product that Domino’s offers (see second video down), need to be addressed. This is a cataclysmic event for the company. They can scurry about as if they are under attack or they can use the opportunity to reinvent themselves internally and in the eyes of the public. This all happened in 24 hours. Welcome to the world of online communication.<number>
  • Wikipedia exerts enormous influence on the web and is a huge PR challenge. Wikipedia receives between 25,000 and 60,000 page requests per second. Wikipedia is among the ten most visited websites worldwide. The growth of Wikipedia has been fueled by its dominant position in Google search results; about 50% of search engine traffic to Wikipedia comes from Google, a good portion of which is related to academic research.From Wikipedia: Critics of Wikipedia accuse it of systemic bias and inconsistencies, and target its policy of favoring consensus over credentials in its editorial process. Wikipedia's reliability and accuracy are also an issue. Other criticisms are centered on its susceptibility to vandalism and the addition of spurious or unverified information, though scholarly work suggests that vandalism is generally short-lived.COI & NPV – ‘must learn’ for creating content fo the web.<number>
  • Who reads PRBlogNews? Snapshot, April 13, 2009: Hanoi, Vietnam – Dubai – Tehran, Iran – Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia – Maine, Tennessee, West Virginia, New Jersey, Georgia, Missouri, Maine, Texas, New York. Top Countries: United States, UK, China, Canada, Australia. China??? A blog post is a press release.<number>
  • Engage and experiment – Delve into the world of social media, the skills you learn are valuable, engage in blog dialogue, keep it professionalBe public in your relations – Create your public, professional profile, maintain it.Brand yourself – Your ‘brand’ will follow you.Write for the web – Old fashioned press releases are dead, news lives and propagates on the web, write in the pyramid style, the three tiered approach: 1) headline 2) paragraph description 3) deep information – then link to resources and supporting documents, digital assetsUnderstand news creation and distribution – Like journalists, PR people now need to be responsible for developing news and information and distributing it through multiple channels.<number>
  • LinkedIn is professional, industry & job agnostic, enduring, respected – and they don’t waste your time. You get your own dedicated url that brands you. They are beginning to judiciously add social media tools. You can see this presentation on my LinkedIn profile.<number>
  • A WikiProject is a collection of pages devoted to the management of a specific topic or family of topics within Wikipedia; and, simultaneously, a group of editors who use those pages to collaborate on encyclopedic work. It is not a place to write encyclopedia articles directly, but a resource to help coordinate and organize the writing and editing of those articles.<number>
  • ‘Social’ media is here to stay – we may not know its future permutations – but it requires your involvement in order for you to understand it<number>
  • | Twitter: markrose | LinkedIn: mrosepr | Blog:<number>
  • The Future of Public Relations

    1. 1. The Future of Public Relations Riding the Wave Virginia Commonwealth University April 18, 2009 Mark Rose
    2. 2. Our conversation today • What is public relations? • Media trends – Rapid disintegration of traditional mass media – Elevation/acceptance of social media • The ‘new’ PR – filling the communication void • Skills needed for the ‘new’ PR • What You Can Do Now
    3. 3. What is public relations?
    4. 4. I Want My Blackberry
    5. 5. PR/Social Media Experiment
    6. 6. Current media trends • Rapid disintegration of traditional media • Rapid elevation and use of online news, info, resources • Democratization of news distribution – free, easy, self-perpetuating
    7. 7. Seattle P-I R.I.P. 3/16/2009
    8. 8. The New Seattle P-I 3/17/2009
    9. 9. Media Trends UK : Press Gazette closes : 3:32 PM Apr 15th AM radio station, 1050 CHUM has gone off the air : AM Apr 15th Chicago Tribune to cut 20% of staff : 11:12 AM Apr 14th PRESS-GAZETTE is closing : 7:18 PM Apr 6th
    10. 10. Journalists – now & future • Technologically adept – aggregators The new Seattle P-I: The operation won't have specific reporters, editors or producers -- all staff are expected to write, edit, take photos, shoot video and produce multimedia, according to Michelle Nicolosi, who will lead the site as executive producer. • Personalities – spokespeople for a topic on TV & web video
    11. 11. Elevation/acceptance of social media • 100 M videos on YouTube • 4 M articles on Wikipedia • 200 M blogs • 1 B tweets on Twitter • 200 M people on Facebook each month • Wikimedia Project - Wikipedia
    12. 12. The ‘New’ PR From ‘behind the curtain’ to front of the camera
    13. 13. The ‘New’ PR News Creation News Distribution • Web copy • Web site • SEO press release • Blog • Marketing material • Twitter • Research • Flickr (photo) • Presentations • YouTube (video) • Commentary • RSS (syndication) • Crisis reaction • Widgets Marriage of news creation + distribution
    14. 14. The ‘New’ PR Combining news & tips w/social media in email
    15. 15. Die! Press release! Die! Die! Die!
    16. 16. The ‘New’ News Distribution
    17. 17. Use All Channels
    18. 18. Develop Wikipedia Strategy
    19. 19. Skills Needed for the ‘New’ PR • Engage and experiment • Be ‘public’ in your relations • Brand yourself • Write for the web • Understand news creation and distribution
    20. 20. To Do Now • Get on LinkedIn
    21. 21. To Do Now • Participate in a Wiki Project/Edit
    22. 22. To Do Now • Socialize Ride the wave
    23. 23. Mark Rose Partner, Influence Consulting NYC Blog: Twitter: markrose LinkedIn: mrosepr