Last Saturday’s story in The New York Times, “Spinning the Web: PR In Silicon Valley”, describes an all too familiar “movement” in the PR world. Though the story initially focuses on tech start-ups in Silicon Valley, I feel the same scenario could be applied to nearly every industry in the nation.
The article begins by explaining that rather than working with traditional media – TV, print and radio – or even online media, like bloggers and Web journalists, PR pros in Silicon Valley are now going to “entrepreneurs behind tech’s hottest start-ups” to help get the word out about their clients.
“This is the new world of promoting start-ups in Silicon Valley, where the lines between journalists and everyone else are blurring and the number of followers a pundit has on Twitter is sometimes viewed as more important than old metrics like the circulation of a newspaper,” explains the article.
The story goes on to discuss how “the era of e-mail, blogs and Twitter has the potential to turn the entire idea of PR professionals as gatekeepers on its head.”
I, of course, happen to agree with the PR pros quoted in the story who believe that we will continue to play a vital role in publicity.
“’You absolutely have to be aware of power users who put things up on Facebook, Flickr, Yelp,’ Ms. [Donna Sokolsky] Burke, [co-founder of Spark PR], says. ‘PR is important because it’s pretty intensive to figure out who they are.’”
I’d even say that we’re needed now more than ever to help our clients navigate the often dizzying and constantly evolving landscape of online promotional tools and the influential people behind them. But I do agree that the role of the PR pro is changing and will probably continue to change as long as the mediums keep evolving.
I could go on and on about this article – there’s lots of great information – but I’ll let you read it for yourself.
What are your thoughts on the ever-changing role of PR professionals?
Do you find yourself pitching “everyday Twitterers” rather than journalists?