Congratulations to Ef Rodriguez, who was named Westword’s “Twit of the Week.” In the accompanying Twitter interview, Rodriguez shares that he “was drawn to Twitter by the promise of high-fives and makeouts. While I have received neither, my incurable optimism spurs me ever onward.”
By Elaine Schoch
Director of Emerging Media
104 West Partners
What typically is a slow time of year, the fourth quarter of 2009 was an absolute whirlwind. New business pitch after new business pitch to bringing on and kicking off new clients. When I looked up and it was Christmas… That leads me to my one and only true PR prediction for 2010…
My One True PR Prediction
Budgets will return. Spending will increase and there will be more jobs in PR.
I do, however, have a few other predictions on how our industry will change in the coming year:
Social Media will not be a Separate Discipline Anymore
Social media will become an integral part of the overall marketing and communications strategy and not an effort unto itself. Frankly, social media should NEVER have been a separate discipline. Social media presents several advantages to reach and engage with a target audience over traditional media but it’s simply another channel to leverage to meet a businesses goals and objectives.
A Social Shakeout
While we’ve seen a number of businesses (and agencies) leave social media to the younger generation (i.e. interns and recent college grads) who “know social media”, this will and must change. No offense to these guys and gals, but they don’t have the deeper, strategic understanding (yet) on how to reach and engage people to truly change behavior. Additionally, there are a number of issues that arise in PR that only those with years of experience know how to handle. It comes back to understanding how to look at the big, long-term picture verses the short-term.
Newspapers Won’t Die
We all know newspapers are in a state of transition or rather a ‘state of figure it out or go away’. In 2009 we saw a number of outlets close altogether but there were also a handful that went to online versions only. This will become more of a trend in 2010. More newspapers will also begin to charge fees for their online content. While I’m not too keen on paying for the content myself, I do understand why they need to charge for it. I’m hopeful the industry figures out how to create a model that actually works and will be adopted but I think there will be a lot of trial and error until they get it right…
Privacy More of an Issue
Privacy has and will remain an issue in 2010. People will be most sensitive to data gathered on social network sites since this information is extremely personal. We witnessed this last month when Facebook changed its privacy settings. We all freaked out since more of our personal information was now open for anyone and everyone to see – especially advertisers and marketers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the government put some kind of federal legislation in place this year that limits website tracking.
People will figure out how to use Google Wave effectively for real-time collaboration. I’m pretty excited about this one…
By Gina Seamans
Senior Counselor, JohnstonWells
My predictions for 2010 are drawn from my experience of leading the PRSA Colorado Chapter during 2009. They are geared toward the people, rather than the business. I predict that even more PR professionals will seek membership and involvement in strong professional organizations like PRSA, where they can receive professional development and connect with people who will help shape their careers. Our chapter will be invigorated by another year of membership growth, record levels of member involvement and demand for the strongest professional development schedule ever. All this invigorated activity is driven by three realities:
- The practice of public relations is evolving and smart professionals must stay on top of all points in the broad continuum of communication options.
- The job market is tight, so successful career movement depends on having an expanded network that can lead to meaningful introductions, referrals, and references.
- A successful professional must be willing to invest in themselves. This is the new normal, so professionals must grow and change, and be ready to move forward rather than look back.
I think that one of the greatest changes we’ll see in public relations in 2010 is the weakened and reinventing economy. That might sound a bit odd, but most of the trends we’ll see in PR this year are just a continuation of what we saw in 2009, 2008 and so on. Yes, there’ll be more emphasis on social media and that any PR person worth their salt will figure out how to work with the Facebook and Twitter communities and how to create an engaging and beneficial blog, but that’s not a prediction. That’s easy stuff, just as it’s easy to say “we’ll see print media continue to struggle.” D’oh, yeah.
What I’m thinking is more about how the economic problems of 2009 didn’t so much reflect a weak economy but rather one that is reinventing itself to match the modern era. In some sectors unemployment is alarmingly high, but in other sectors – like tech – business is booming. Smart programmers are writing iPhone apps and making a good living, while the clueless are wondering what happened to their cushy DoD contracts.
This will push PR in new directions because consumers (the “public” in public relations) are going to become both more skeptical and more demanding of the relationship that they have with vendors. As the dollar becomes scarce, the urge to be thoughtful in spending it will increase. PR won’t have the leeway to be clumsy any more and I predict that some fairly big companies will flame out spectacularly due to major PR missteps.
Public Relations professionals are going to have to really learn how to listen to the customer and to the public, not just try and manipulate the marketplace for the benefit of their clients. And that might make this a great year for PR in the long run.