Since I started in PR, I’ve witnessed many changes in our industry. There are the more logistical day-to-day changes that have occurred – I no longer cut coverage out of magazines with an X-acto knife and tape it into a clip book – but the changes that I think about most are the more sweeping kind that have changed how organizations communicate.
The rise in popularity of social media as a way to directly engage with audiences is an obvious example of this evolution. Another example is the shifting media landscape to digital/online/mobile and how news outlets can sustain the business model, and still another is the development of earned vs. paid vs. owned content. These are all relatively recent developments, too.
With all these recent, rapid changes, I find myself wondering what the industry will look like in the future, say 10 years down the road.
There are so many questions. Will the big dailies that are struggling today figure out how to become and stay profitable? Will the number of pitchable writers and editors dwindle to only a small fraction of today’s number (which in itself is far smaller than just a few years ago)? What new social networks will emerge and surpass what we use today? What role will creative content play? The list of questions can go on and on.
But no matter what the future holds, no matter the path that PR takes, the basic principles of this discipline should remain. The channels we use to communicate may change, but the foundations of our messages never should. We will always be required to tell a compelling story, and do so in a way that informs, educates and inspires key communities. And this has always been true of PR no matter the media landscape or technology available or the communication methods we use.
Maybe there won’t be press releases in 10 years, maybe there will be a whole new group outside of press, analysts and bloggers that is a conduit to our audiences, maybe the PR professional of the future will never execute a deskside media tour. Regardless of what the industry looks like in the future, though, the building blocks of a good story will remain our foundation.