The role of PR in a world without gatekeepers has long confused me. Although you all claim to work with your clients to manage their public image, PR has long been the yin to old media’s yang. It’s not public relations, it’s press relations and you know it. But that’s okay. That’s a job that needs to get done.
My problem is that PR continues to operate in a silo. You talk to other PR people, you talk to reporters and you talk to clients, but seldom do I see PR people actually talking to the public they claim to serve. How familiar are PR people with content creators that exist online? How plugged in are they to the ever-evolving community of real estate agents, relevant media practitioners and web designers that are quickly setting the standard for how all business will be done?
They’re not, and not because they can’t, it’s because they choose not to be. Podcamp AZ, our largest and longest-running relevant media conference in the state, had zero people talking about PR. It may have had a few attendees, but none of you stood out in the slightest. Why? Do PR people already know enough about the changing face of American business that they need not attend conferences such as these? Professional development opportunities aside, I bet if the traditional press held a mixer every single PR person in the state would crawl over themselves to attend and hear the same old speech about declining revenues and the search for more money.
Perhaps the open sharing of information isn’t something PR is comfortable with. Perhaps this mindset, long held by the newspaper world while information could actually be hoarded, scares each of you a bit. But what will you do when the newspapers all become corporate owned, eager to push their agenda? Will they take your calls, or will they relegate you to the same trash heap they originally did with writers who publish online?
So please, be part of the entire media community, not just your niche. Come to CoHoots. Check out Gangplank. Explore whatever Mark Dudlik and Dave Bjorn have brewing at Levine Machine. See you out there.