Public Relations and the Changing Media Environment


16 September, 2011 / No Comment

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Rubel, executive VP for Global Strategy and Insights with Edelman. Edelman is a global public relations firm, well known for being on the forefront of technological change. Click here for more info on Steve and Edelman.

In these opening clips from our interview with Steve, he talks about what PR is, and how technological change has impacted upon the PR industry, and media as a whole.

In a nutshell, Public Relations is about using communications to build a relationship with a target group that is important to your business. That target group is not necessarily consumers; it may be fellow businesspeople, it may be legislators. Once that relationship is in place, it becomes advantageous not just to the business, but also to the target group.

In the last five years, however, the PR industry has had to adjust to the great changes in communications technology that have come about. Steve talks about a “dispersion of authority”, where the power to shape the media conversation has moved away from a few big players, to many smaller ones. The net effect of this dispersion is that we now have four different spheres of media, three of which exist on the internet.

- The ‘traditional’ media, as Steve phrases it, encompasses the old guard such as newspapers, radio, television etc. These are typically passive mediums, in that the audience does not generally interact.

- Using a traditional business model in a totally online space, the “tradigital” media is a bridge between old and new. Tradigital media provides a lower entry level to the media industry, and has led to a proliferation of independent media.

- A relatively new phenomenon, social media, such as twitter, facebook and YouTube, allows literally anybody to have their thoughts and opinions broadcast to the entire world

- Finally, there is Owned Content, which is typically corporate websites and the like, where every business can act as a media company for the purposes of promoting themselves.

The challenge now for PR companies is to navigate this new paradigm of communication, where the target group can finally join in the conversation.


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