Thursday, August 14, 2008

PR: It ain't broke, but it does need fixing

There have been some wild stabs in the dark (back?) at PR over the last few days - notably from Mike Arrington and Robert Scoble.
Steve Rubel has been questioning the value of PR altogether in a world where we thrill in the discovery of the new for ourselves (we get more of a kick if this experience is NOT mediated).

And I've joined the fray with comments in mutliple locations. It's time to draw them together. (Image by candiceedicnac)

PR ain't broken. At least, it's no more broken than the next way-of-doing-things the mass-media, broadcast world presents us with.

Anything which involves mediation has to be rethought in the context of a world where communities of purpose can form at next-to-no cost - where control is simply routed round by people seeking their own co-created solutions;

PR is no more broken than broadcast media, than the music industry, movies or print.

It's no more broken than traditional visions of economics, politics, education or the law.

ALL need reconstructing to take account of the fundamental shift from a broadcast to a networked world.

To pick on PR is to miss the point. Everywhere there is mediation, the network will disrupt and is beginning to disrupt.

In the case of traditional PR, the kind of stuff that bugs Scoble et al (and frankly any traditional journalist since PR began) is the irrelevant.

PR, when driven from a broadcast mindset, aims for quality at the cost of relevance: A fabulous press release sent out en masse? Spam for everyone for whom it is not relevant. Relevance always beats quality.

PR has to take the same kind of approach as anyone wishing to spread or seed a message in the networked world (hello marketeers, advertisers, politicians, service and product providers?).

It goes a little something like this (those familiar with Why Traditional Ad Models Won't Work in Social Networks, And What Will, may recognise its evolutionary path!). See below. Relax. It's just 10 slides.

This speaks to some of the ideas we kicked around with the notion of P2PR.

But to dismiss traditional PR out of hand is at best link-baiting and at worst commercial suicide.

There's still huge swathes of value to be derived from taking traditional routes, reaching out to those who still broadcast in the hope of reaching their (ok dwindling but) still very large audiences.

No wise PR effort would do without it. And getting back to the basics of good human relationships with your intended broadcaster, so that you know what is relevant for them, will win you prizes here, too.

PR + P2PR = :-)

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?