I have seen so many posts and buzz these last few days about PR becoming obsolete, everywhere from TechCrunch to ZDNet. In some cases I felt compelled to post comments. Now I finally have a bit of time to log into my WordPress account and write a proper post about it.
Let me address the issue at its core: PR is not synonymous with “publicist”.
PR is much more than media relations or pitching bloggers. It’s much more than being the conduit between a company and the media (be it traditional or social.) It’s about been strategic on what you want to communicate, how, when and to whom. A good PR campaign can (and should) reach all the stakeholders and the influencers beyond media and blogs, such as financial analysts, industry analysts, academia, legislators, partners, employees, consumers, customers, local communities, online communities, Wall Street, etc. It depends on the company business and its business goals.
If the point of these posts is that the media landscape is changing and therefore PR people need to understand it in order to provide sound counsel to their clients (regardless of whether you are in-house or on the agency side) then I agree with you. However, good PR people are much more than publicists. They know that blasting a pitch email hoping that it sticks will not work. And most importantly, it never worked (not with media in the past, not with bloggers today.)
Knowing your audiences, building relationships, crafting stories, managing a crisis, engaging your stakeholders, and providing them with what they need is what PR is all about. Nothing new. What is changing is the complexity and the environment, which is richer, and, in my opinion, a lot more fun.
Good PR is here to stay. Good PR practitioners will always find a seat at the table if they continue to do what they have been doing for years: listening and adapting to an ever-changing landscape.