The world is constantly buzzing with new ideas, innovations and accessibility to previously untapped information sources. If we want a question answered we Google it. You can even check a site’s popularity compared to another by using a program that measures metrics. Easy, right? For public relations pros, our relentless desire to have everything at our fingertips might actually be making our lives more difficult.
An October 2012 article from PR Daily reports on a handful of trends that are currently making the lives of PR professionals challenging. Each trend falls back on an idea that our growing accessibility to one another and the rest of the world may actually hinder our quest for knowledge…
Who is the real “expert”?
The Internet’s broad net tampers with the quality of the term “expert,” especially for those seeking a legitimate source of information. Since everyone has online access 24/7, we can all openly share our opinions in real-time. Therefore, anyone can designate themselves as credible sources of information on any topic or inquiry. Of course, this loose definition of validity causes concern and sometimes diminishes the credibility of real experts.
The freelancer community takeover.
Freelancers overpowering traditional media has become the new norm. When the economy had a downturn around the Millennium, it left a long trail of layoffs across multiple publications. Since then, many of those employees and others have re-entered the workforce as freelancers. This trend increased by more than 300% and hasn’t lost any speed, with nearly three quarters of magazine content being contributed by freelancers. This poses a challenge for PR pros when determining which relationships are vital for their clients and the stories they want to tell
What stats will you trust?
This overly accessible network of information has made it difficult to accept and trust statistics and data. This is likely the most significant point made by PR Daily. No one wants false information on the Internet, but what happens when you have so many ‘valid’ sources that your own resulting answers combat each other? Sites want to claim they contain the most accurate information, but with so many options, how do you know who to trust?
Those who support the brand build the brand.
PR Daily noted the most poignant trend is the fact that a lot of PR isn’t even in the hands of the professionals anymore. With our limitless accessibility as influencers, the consumer has an incredible scope of power over brands and products. Another challenge for PR professionals is to harness the power of consumers as influencers to support the brand in a positive way.
Technology continues to change the way we work and live, sometimes making it easier, and other times providing new hurdles. Our survival and success is based on being able to adapt.