Trylon Communications  - January 2006

Trends That Will Affect PR in 2006

As media consumption habits change to reflect evolving technology, public relations campaigns need to adapt. Last year saw major shifts in media consumption, as citizen media grew up, weblogs became commonplace, and podcasting moved almost overnight from a high-tech, fringe concept to mainstream application. Following are some trends we believe may affect your PR strategies in 2006.

Citizen Media – The role of the consumer in generating content will continue to grow. It will be more important than ever for public relations campaigns to target their messages to reach influential consumers who share their views with the world. This can include pitching blogs (see story) and podcast producers, as well as including influential “citizen media” contributors in PR plans.

Going Online – Everything is moving to the web. Programs, databases, calendars and more are becoming web-based. For PR people, this means having access to all your crucial information instantly from anywhere. Setting up a “virtual office” will be key, as you can then implement tactics, contact media, and set up appointments using a Blackberry or other web-enabled portable device.

Wireless – Society is quickly becoming that “always-on” wireless world envisioned since the days of Dick Tracy. The success of the Internet phone service Skype, for example, demonstrates that old communications platforms are becoming obsolete. While cell phones can now take and transmit pictures, video, text messages, instant messages, TV shows, games and more, mobile voice over Internet will soon be commonplace.

Media as Conversation – Social networking is becoming more important in everyday lives. We use media to make friends based upon common interests instead of geographical proximity. These social networks will accelerate public relations, allowing companies to tailor their messages to their target audience.

Traditional Media Evolution – As traditional media attempt to maintain market share and keep advertisers, they will have to adapt rapidly to new technologies. Already, network and cable shows are moving to the web – and vice versa! At this year’s CES show, companies like Yahoo! unveiled products and services to move the Internet from the PC to the TV and mobile phone. The opportunities for PR in these new distribution paradigms will be significant. As more long form content is “narrowcast” via the web, targeting correct audiences will become easier.

Advertising vs. PR – It is increasingly difficult for advertising models to hold up under the new media consumption trends. PR should gain recognition (and budget share) as it develops new ways to “tune in.”