PR needs a car not a faster horse – designers required

half_horse_half_car-12038 I read a really great post last night from Tim Dyson, CEO of Next Fifteen about the need for true innovation in the PR industry through great design. Innovation of the Henry Ford game changing variety, the car – not just the incremental change that we currently see i.e. a faster horse.

By coincidence I had been talking about a specific example of this earlier yesterday at the Social Media World Forum – my topic the Social Media News Release (SMNR).

In my presentation (below) I also highlighted the need for design* where PR content was concerned and that as of now the best attempt to date has been the Social Media News Release (hattip Mr Todd Defren). But like Tim I concluded that despite being one of the first to implement the template, it still only represents an incremental improvement over the press release – evolution not revolution.

The PR community (including us) needs to find even better ways to design our content and its packaging to suit a world that has many different audiences/communities, is increasingly accessing content across mobile platforms and is suffering from an overload of messages.

We, RealWire, also announced yesterday the results of research into the extent to which multimedia content is used to enhance press releases. The research found that of a sample of almost 3,000 press releases across six newswires only 13 per cent included any kind of “multimedia” (if you ignore company logos) and that in fact for the vast majority this was just a picture. Only 3 per cent included any other form of content e.g. audio/video etc and only 2 per cent included content that was hosted on social media platforms. You can hear me talking about these findings in more detail here. (For information RealWire’s comparative figures were 46 per cent, 11 per cent and 7 per cent respectively).

The research suggests that a substantial proportion of the PR community is not yet even making full use of the incremental innovations such as the SMNR, as well as the generic social media platforms. Given this lack of adoption of these new tools what do people think is the game changing solution that will get us to take our driving tests?

* favourite part of this video is Nick Leon between 1.45-2.15

Hattips for title of presentation to Greg Jarboe and Seth Godin

Social Media News Release – A Press Release for the Online World or a Meatball Sundae

View more presentations from RealWire.

One thought on “PR needs a car not a faster horse – designers required

  1. I was very interested in your survey. Perhaps the results show that people do not want to be rushed into playing with all the ‘whistles and bells’ of social media and IT advances too quickly.

    Every week, there seems to be another new refinement and you could spend all week just keeping up with them.

    Most PRs and their clients question the value of blogging, twittering, etc. Sure they’re good for networking and another outlet for telling a story, but how much business do they retain or generate? Not a lot seems to be the consensus. Emperor’s new clothes springs to mind.

    I think most in the industry want to take their time to get to grips with developments, assess them, then adopt them if they see a value.

    Clearly, they don’t see that value at the moment. In terms of the media, I don’t know how many journalists tweet, but I do know that most are far too busy to check out the Twitter page, FB page and blog listed on every release they receive – or even every one that interests them. As for audio/visual content, blimey, many business and news desks still struggle to receive pic attachments!

    I am not a Luddite – I was one of the first PRs to email media submissions to journalists (and boy, did they kick and scream about that) and persuade clients to forsake classified ads for e-shots and websites, but enough already! Things are moving too quickly.

    So my message is SLOW DOWN, engage and convince. Convert people by proving the value of new routes, rather than insisting that they must use them just because they are there!

    Thank you for listening.

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