Thursday, February 7, 2013

How digital ate the PR industry's lunch

In an article on The Drum's site a couple of days ago, there was an opinion piece by Sandy Lindsay from Tangerine PR on the ability of the PR industry to hire new and young talent to safeguard it's future.

Her article mentioned that the PR industry has a job on its hands to find the right people to help it own the ‘digital space’, against 'those web bods, advertising or many others'. I  have a different opinion on this (being a 'digital bod' myself) that the PR industry has already lost a lot of this 'fight'. So I felt the need to comment on the article. Here's my rant:
I'm a 'digital bod' as you described and I think this highlights one area where the PR industry has dropped the ball. Over the years I've worked alongside many PR agencies (both in London and further afield) who continually refer to digital as "something over there that digital folks do, whilst we do PR over here". On the other hand, the digital industry now talks about 'engagement' , 'influence' and other factors that contribute to a multi-channel campaign - especially around areas such as search engine optimisation. In short, the Digital industry has moved up close to the PR industry, ate a lot of it's lunch and invented new disciplines such as Content Marketing... that should have been driven by the PR industry in the first place! Until it learns to broaden it's reach and truly understand the use and impact of digital comms, the PR industry will not attract the right young talent it needs at all and then I really would fear for it's future.
Sure, some PR agencies have embraced digital, others have created digital divisions (some only in name, or have just aligned themsleves to a developer sitting in their bedroom) but others have still stuck their heads in sand.

It will be interesting to see how the Content Marketing trend continues to eat into the domain (and lunch / budget) of the PR industry.
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