Where are we going?

It’s always interesting to watch the trades and industry bloggers talking about the future of the PR industry, of newspapers, of journalism … well, of just about everything.  What do we see at Kolbeco?  Here are our thoughts on a few things that have been widely discussed over the last few months.

PR and SEO … For almost five years (maybe more), Kolbeco has been talking to clients about the integration of PR and SEO.  Why?  Because early on, we started treating the web as a media outlet.  It is, of course, a different type of media than traditional print and broadcast outlets, and we recognized that.  It became clear years ago that if we planned appropriately, had a solid strategy, and did it right, we had the power, through PR in a new medium, to impact search.  Back then it was forum leaders, influential forum participants, a few bloggers, and a few online press release sites.  While there are many more opportunities today, the principles remain the same.  It’s all about good communications, knowing the outlet, knowing the audience, and being creative – and having the guts and thick skin needed to put your message out there.

SEO folks will take over the PR industry … Not so fast, guys and gals.  SEO and PR work in conjunction with each other, but are different disciplines.  We have great gurus in-house here who advise the PR pros on key word analysis, search volume, and all the tech stuff that goes into understanding how the search engines work.  But it is the PR people who know how to work with this data and implement a communications strategy that will resonate with the audience and benefit the brand.

Bloggers have become journalists … this isn’t news at Kolbeco.  We’ve been treating bloggers like journalists for years, and found early on that they have loyal followings, influence great numbers of people, and have the time and passion to fully research their subject matter.  We would cringe when we heard clients say things like “oh, well that’s just a blog mention it’s not real media” … and, back then, had to do a lot of education about the power and value of blogs.  Today, a top priority for many clients is engaging this world that they may have shunned just a couple of years ago.

Web mentions surpassing the desire for the “big hit” … see above.  This is what we’ve been educating clients about for so long.  Good mentions online have benefits all over the place.  It used to be that we’d spend a good deal of a contract period working a story for big, high-profile media.  Now, that big hit might be a blog, or a viral “hit” on YouTube.

Obviously, there is much more to be discussed on this topic.  Heck, I didn’t even go into Twitter, Facebook, et al in this post.  My point is – PR and PR agencies will survive, but in order to do so, they must constantly be looking at the changing landscape of how communication happens.  There will always be some new media.  But as PR people, it’s still our job to get the message out, build relationships, and help our clients grow.  We just have to evolve the way we do it.