An article in Ragan’s Grapevine, reprinted from Ragan’s Media Relations Report, offers some PR professionals’ predictions for PR and media in 2006.
1. Really Simple Syndication (RSS), allowing Web users to have specific information delivered to them, will hit the big time.
Denyse Dabrowski, vice president and managing director of The Marcus Group in Secaucus, N.J. says: “For reporters it means they will be able to filter real time information, decreasing the amount of e-mail substantially. For PR firms, it means saving time and money monitoring hundreds of Web sites and it also will provide an alternate channel for communicating directly with your audience.”
2. “By year end, there will be key blogs in many areas-particularly markets like technology and consumer electronics-that will carry equal or greater credibility than any traditional media outlet in the space,” says Doyle Albee, account director at Metzger Associates in Boulder.
3. Media will mine blogs for background information.
Jason Caldwell, account supervisor at Shelton PR in Dallas, says: “Many media already prefer using them to obtain information, as opposed to press releases and canned corporate messaging. I think it’s a growing format that PR pros need to learn to exploit, or at least deal with effectively.”
4. PR firms will put bloggers in their payroll.
Jeremy Pepper, president of POP! Public Relations in Scottsdale, says: “PR firms are going to see the ever-growing influence of consumer-generated media, and continue to develop blog, podcast and video podcast divisions of their PR firms. In the first half of 2006, we’ll see more and more firms bring in bloggers to help understand and build such practices.”
5. There will be blog fights between media and PR.
Jeff Hardison, senior counsel at McClenahan Bruer Communications in Portland, says: “The influx of PR professionals blogging about their day-to-day dealings with the media will result in a highly publicized battle between a PR practitioner and a journalist. The fighting will start in the comments section of the PR professional’s blog, which will lead to links from other PR and journalists’ blogs. The battle will eventually receive coverage from the Online Journalism Review.”
6. There will be blog whining.
Hardison says: “Popular PR bloggers will continue to get upset over the various media database companies treating them as media professionals by asking for their contact information and preferences. A journalist blogger, who’s fielded calls from these media-database researchers for years, will blog about the hypocrisy of the matter. On the flip side, PR bloggers who have not been contacted for listing will blog about how shunned they feel.”
7. Podcasts will become SOP.
Albee says: “Podcasting audio content will become commonplace. All terrestrial stations will offer podcasted content. Most television shows will be made available for downloading for a small fee. Weekly news analysis shows will crop up with no traditional telecast home and be every bit as influential.”
Greg Brooks, founder of Snapp Norris Group in Salt Lake City, says: “Buzzword compliance requires adding ‘podcasts’ and ‘experiential marketing’ to every new-client pitch. The video press release will be different than the traditional VNRs, which are generated with broadcast media in mind. The video press release will be more ubiquitous and will include a person - could be the CEO, could be the PR rep -delivering the gist of the news. They can be produced relatively cheaply and easily using a camera and a Web site. The video press release will be seen as a podcast on steroids.”
8. More PR people will be behind bars for ethics scandals.
Mike Paul, president of MGP & Associates PR in New York, says: “PR professionals in corporate America and from leading PR consulting firms will be charged with illegal or immoral activities and do the perp walk before the media for all to see.”
9. There will be more celebrities in corporate boardrooms.
Jerry Schwartz, president of G.S. Schwartz & Co. in New York, says: “The new hot area will be the crossover of celebrity and corporate; that is, corporations will be using celebrities to get attention.”
10. Everyone will use PR.
Adam Shapiro, assistant vice president at Widmeyer Communications in Washington, D.C., says: “We are on the verge of a revolution in the PR industry where everyone from the dog walker to the hair stylist will want to utilize the services of a PR professional -not necessarily a firm - to publicize their efforts through grassroots, media relations and Web-based techniques.”
11. Mainstream media becomes less relevant.
Ray Kerins, executive vice president of the corporate communications and media relations practices at GCI Group, says: “The younger generation doesn’t really read newspapers, and they care even less about the network news system. They’re getting their news from Jon Stewart. You have to go after the best possible way to communicate with your target audience - and it doesn’t matter if that’s a blog or a newspaper.”
12. Op-ed pages become hot.
Ken Jopp, president of Jopp Communications in St. Paul, Minn., says: “With shrinking readerships, newspapers take a lesson from AM radio and expand their editorial and opinion content to include more in-your-face polemic. The op-ed function also takes on a role as a digest of the blogosphere - as TV Guide is for television.”
Many of these predictions are already based on beginning trends. We shall see how they will all develop.