Thanks to Shel Holtz for pointing out this article in the Charlotte Observer about the growth of PR firms, and how companies are moving their spending from advertising to PR because it’s becoming harder, with fragmented audiences, TiVo and the like, to use traditional advertising to get messages across.
Shel made the good point in his For Immediate Release podcast that the growth of traditional PR vs. advertising may be one reason why PR firms have been slow to adopt social media…just as they were slow to implement the internet. When times are relatively good for your basic service, it probably makes sense to focus on the “bread and butter.”
Still, it’s important to learn some of these newer methods, because times change and the media landscape is changing rapidly. I heard an interesting tidbit at a recent meeting, that in 1965 it was possible to buy 3 ads on network TV and reach 85 percent of households. Today that max (except on Super Bowl Sunday) is something like 15 percent. And I believe Pew found that network newscasts are down 50 percent in audience since the launch of CNN.
With radically democratized content production and distribution with virtually no barriers to entry, the audiences will continue to break into smaller segments.
That’s where social media come in, as a way of aggregating niches of people who share interests. They (we) will point each other to things we find useful. And it means audiences are no longer passive consumers, but also a content contributors.