• A shift in politics?
  • The climate change debate?
  • The impact of online journalism?
  • Online retail growth?
  • The evolution of traditional media and the ‘new’ news format?

 

The PR Report recently published an incredibly comprehensive list of the ‘The Top 20 Trends’ PR practitioners can expect to see in 2011.

The list of identified trends included changes in social media practices, the evolution of a ‘new’ style of news, shifts in the political climate of Australia, the rise of the web and its effect on journalism, increased accountability, ie. Wikileaks, climate or ‘Earth’ change as it is predicted to be called, and a greater demand for exclusives within the media.

A key trend that will change how DRPR and the PR industry at large operate, is the impact of the web on journalists. The internet is giving traditional media a run for its money, and has led to cutbacks on journalists. As the PR Report pointed out, this will result in a decline in investigative journalism and the overall quality of news, which is not good news for anyone. If any Joe Blog can write a blog, that’s easily accessible by the masses then where does that leave the credibility of journalism?

Waring fake blogs sign

Astroturfing and fake blogs are changing Public Relations

Already, PR agencies are targeting influential bloggers in order to spread the word on their clients and their products or services. This is probably most obvious in genres such as food blogging and consumer products generally. PR’s are providing key food bloggers with ‘gifts’ such as food products, kitchen supplies and equipment. Whilst this product endorsement is just the same as any celebrity getting on TV and talking about the benefits of a multi vitamin or pain relief product, bloggers are not bound by the legalities that a journalist or mainstream media would be. This leads to the threat of fake blogs and astroturfing which give the PR industry, and corporate PR a bad reputation.

The effect on PR, is of course, that we begin to lose credibility. No matter how good our clients or their services or products are, we are faced with an increasingly cynical and better educated public as a result of shows like the Hungry Beast and  Absolute Power that illustrate the dark underbelly of Public Relations.

As with most communication strategies and especially in the current context, transparency is crucial. Hopefully those PR’s that don’t abide by the same ethos don’t initiate a PR crisis.

Are your business’ communication tactics and objectives changing with the times?

@gillasbury