Many people get their news from weblogs these days, rather than just traditional media. I read Deborah Branscum’s all the time (buzz.weblogs.com), and I love what she writes about in her posts as much as or more than I love her Fortune.com columns. I’ve also managed to build relationships with various media people because we both maintain a blog, and we share information.
Many PR and advertising conglomerates have been losing money in the past couple of years because they’re stuck in the past. Sure, advertising is good if you have something that’s not newsworthy, but if you can’t make something newsworthy then you shouldn’t be doing PR in the first place. However, PR and advertising combined are more effective than using either of them alone.
Media is changing very quickly, though, and PR is definitely becoming more important. Weblogs are making media less centralized and more personal, and unlike the dot coms that fell, blogs will not fall because they’re usually not for profit and they’re cheap to maintain. Having a background in PR, especially media relations, is good for someone hoping to flood blogs with their message, or they can simply rely on old-fashioned “Google bombing.”
Edelman made the famous mistake of not taking blogs seriously (to see what I’m talking about, go to Google and type in NUBlog+Edelman), and even though they guarantee better search engine placement for a client, many PR companies do not include them in netcom strategies.
The point I’m trying to make is this: Don’t get stuck in the old glue of what’s been tried and proven true. What was proven true ten years ago may not be true at all in today’s world, market, etc.
Sure, PR may be the future, but if you’re not familiar with the media of the future, your PR knowledge may not be useful at all. Advertising faces this problem, still, with the Web, especially with banner ads.
PR works well today, but practitioners are still referred to as flaks, and PR is still a support function, in most cases, rather than an actual management function. PR’s credibility isn’t too high, either. PR will have to successfully tackle these issues before it actually “beats” advertising.
I rank the book up there with books that are allegedly written by a presidential candidate, but are written by someone else, simply to gain support for the said candidate.
The book is a great PR book for PR, but in reality, marketing communication techniques are usually more effective when mixed, so PR and advertising are both necessary, but they can only be as effective as the knowledge of the practitioner putting them into play.
If you know how to do PR or advertising, but do not know your media, then someone else should be undertaking the campaign who does.
The bottom line is that the future belongs to the media, because the media will determine how important each marketing communication method will be, and in what format it will be produced.