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Vivian Li/李雯雯

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Email:vivianli@genipluspr.com

The Future of Public Relations and Social Media
2015-07-01

Public relations specialists were some of the first people to embrace the power of social media, and as a result they are often the ones leading the way in the social space, whether they are consulting with clients from an agency point of view or strategizing on an in-house PR team.

In the past decade, the Internet has had a huge impact on how PR professionals function. As of late, social media is changing the face of PR, as well. We interviewed 14 PR pros on the future of public relations and how they see social media changing the industry. We collected their thoughts on how social media will affect the future of the press release, the evolution of social platforms, current limitations and solutions for those impediments, connecting with other PR pros, cost savings, and building relationships.The Future of the Press Release

The first press release was created during the fall of 1906 by Ivy Lee, known by some as the founder of modern public relations. For much of its proceeding history, the press release was unchanged from its original form. It wasn't until the '90s when online newswire services like BusinessWire's Smart News Release and PRNewswire's MultiVu multimedia release (MMR) service began to appear, decreasing reliance on fax machines and e-mail for disseminating news releases.



During the past few years, we've witnessed a shift towards what some are calling the "social media release." Services like PitchEngine, PressLift, PRX Builder, and MindTouch are bringing the press release into the new millennium with embedded multimedia and easy distribution through various channels, including social media and e-mail. We asked our PR experts about the future of the traditional long form press release, and we received quite a bit of feedback that showed that while it is here to stay, it will continue to be influenced by the brevity and accessibility of social media.

Amanda Miller Littlejohn, founder of Mopwater Social Public Relations, commented on the importance of the social media release and how it enables readers to share and interact with it:

"While I don't believe the press release is dead, it has been transformed, to become this living, breathing thing. If a release doesn't have a social element — that is, a way for viewers to comment or share to their social networks — it doesn't have legs."

The format of the press release isn't the only factor in its evolution. In an e-mail interview, Vice President of BLASTmedia, Lindsay Groepper, discussed how distribution of the press release will continue to be key to its future:

"When I first began my career in PR more than decade ago, we would e-mail or fax (gasp!) the full press release text to the press. What we see now is new methods of distributing the info, driven by social media. Rather than e-mailing a press release, PR people are sending journalists to custom landing pages created just for that specific announcement, contacting them via Twitter with a BUDurl link to the release, or even directing them to a YouTube video with a message from the CEO making the announcement."

PR professionals are now experimenting with these new distribution channels. Likewise, many are finding that the form of the press release isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for every channel. Vistaprint's Public Relations Manager Jeff Esposito believes that the press release will continue to evolve into multiple iterations for various audiences, channels, and situations:

"Over the next five years, I think we’ll see three types of press releases that will assist different audiences. The first is in a video format where there will be a short description followed by a link to a video giving information on the news from a company source, hitting on the five W’s and also offering sound-bites that can be used for stories or added to a news story. The second iteration will be a further evolution of the social press release that is being used today, except more brief and more focused. The final is similar to what we see now with company boiler plates, stock quotes and additional information."

In the end, the press release's future may simply depend on media consumption trends, according to David McCulloch, director of public relations at Cisco Systems:

"In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a marked shift in [the press release's] format to reflect the accelerating societal shift from mass consumption of media (“push” media) to personalized consumption or “pull” media. That’s a shift that has led Cisco to spend less time telling reporters and bloggers what it is we expect them to write, and more time helping them understand how what Cisco is doing might fit with their interests.

"...It’s pretty clear where the press release will go next: It’s going to get shorter; link to more sources; be focused on simplification and explanation; and it’ll come in many more flavors. Practically speaking (assuming the SEC keeps pace with media evolutions), that means the press release of the future will deliver its content in text, video, SMS, microblog and podcast form, to any choice of device, whenever the reader decides, and preferably it will be pre-corroborated and openly rated by multiple trusted sources."


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Vivian Li

PR Manager

Tel: +86 010 8390 7451

Mobile: +86 13041030670