As observed in a blog by David Phillips, there is a massive shortage of digital skills available to the PR industry. This is a worry. The industry needs to protect its budgets, especially from online advertising which can promise much but delivers questionably. Organisations who have remained traditional have felt the heat of digital approach them. Online campaigns, social media monitoring and online publishing are all common place – the PR industry must be ready.
The transformative question is… EC=MC
(Every Company is a Media Company)
The phrase was coined by Tom Foremski and describes how companies are publishing content to its stakeholders, meaning that companies must have an understanding of the publishing tools available. The phase never really caught on in the UK but its effects are being felt across the profession.
PR agencies are publishing an increasingly large amount of content online but still write in a fashion which most would deem unsuitable for the internet age. Digital platforms are not designed for dull press releases but rich, dynamic and engaging content. Therefore, agencies not only need to have an understanding of how to use digital tools but also those who understand the correct tone for the digital age. Essentially, agencies need to understand content curation (and this is another blog post altogether!)
In most cases (only in my experience), the right people are not always the more senior. Instead we should avert our eyes to generation Y. Only they can solve the EC=MC equation.
In 2004, whilst most upcoming seniors were still writing press releases, generation Y were already engaging with digital tools. In most cases these were:
- PHP Forums
- Instant Chat (such as IRC)
- Growing blogging platforms (such as WordPress)
- Building websites from nothing (pure HTML goodness)
MySpace was VERY popular whilst I was growing up and to make any sort of design changes required rather in-depth HTML knowledge. Am I saying PR people should have a knowledge of programming? Yes I am.
The online landscape is as diverse as the cultures living in a student’s dorm. It is more than just social media, far more complicated than “social media gurus” can comprehend. The subtitle of this blog is “Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations and Stuff” because digital has blurred all disciplines and there is even stuff which cannot be categorised.
PR agencies need a helping hand and, in most cases, generation Y is the answer. So go on, give a student a job!
My thanks to Neville Hobson who highlighted EC=MC at his #CIPRsm session last week, “How social do you want your PR?”. To see a full list of other sessions taking place visit the CIPR Social Summer page.