Journalism 2.0: What Does it Mean for B2B Public Relations?

You think layoffs in the media world are brutal now?  Well, buckle up, because we’ve only hit the first hill on the rollercoaster.  Traditional media will continue to hit major dips over next three years, according to John Byrne, executive editor and editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek.com.

I heard John speak about the “new media boom” at Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) St. Louis Chapter’s 60th anniversary dinner on Thursday night.  But, it wasn’t all gloom and doom.  He offered a bright spot: we’ll see a new wave of media enterprises.  The crumbling of traditional news outlets, combined with a growing pool of highly talented journalists who are “on the market,” will lead to the creation of more niche news outlets online that are dedicated to developing quality content on very narrow topics.

The take-aways for us B2B PR folk:

  • Brand reputation will quickly die online if you’re not proactive.  John Byrne noted that online search is brand agnostic; Google essentially is working against brand equity every day.  So, what’s a PR pro to do? According to Adam Singer, eventually “traditional and digital PR will merge and it will just be seen as PR,” so it’s critical for PR to help stake a claim in making brands referential – via links, sourcing and aggregation – sooner rather than later.  It will only become more difficult to develop influence and trust online as digital channels continue to rise.
  • Know where the influencers are.  News competition is intensifying online, and new segments are emerging every moment. Know where people in your sweet spot are gathered – or, better yet, create that community yourself.  For those in B2B marketing, Jeffrey Cohen’s recent post on 9 ways to find influencers, both online and offline, is a useful resource.
  • PR and journalism are becoming more of a two-way street. It’s about talking “with” people, not “to” people. Social media is opening entirely new pathways to connect directly and immediately with prospects, clients and other influencers.  While the pathways are new, journalists and PR professionals still share the same goals online as in print – engage with the audience.

In essence, our job will become more complicated short-term as the media world re-defines itself – and we PR professionals make social media and online brand reputation a natural part of PR strategy.  But the basic rules of the game won’t change for B2B PR: (1) know your sweet spots (2) develop content that showcases your thought leadership and (3) engage – online and offline – on the issues your clients/prospects care about, which should come full circle to points 1 and 2!

What challenges are you struggling with as you embrace digital media?

(photo by Dusso Janladde)

 

To reach Kellie:

Email: kellie@blisspr.com

Twitter: @kshe

LinkedIn: Kellie Sheehan