Just
like your Twitter feed, the Public Relations agency model is consistently being
updated and changed. With the evolution of the Internet and other social media
networks, the PR model has had to adapt to our innate need to be continually
updated by breaking news stories, real-time sports, celebrity gossip and the
latest trends.  

Before
the Internet and the ability to post content from the comfort of our homes, and
even remotely on our smartphones, it was common to have reporters go out on the
field to interview people and then write a news story that would later be
published in a newspaper. Today, although we still have reporters on television
and in the field conducting interviews with sources, news is instant. Gone are
the days where breaking news takes place the day after an event. Rather, news
is immediate and consistently updated via blogs and social media sites like
Twitter and Facebook. It is more common for people to receive their news via a
social media source first rather than by reading it in the newspaper.

Not
only are we receiving our news electronically, but we are also receiving
criticism, coordinating meetings, connecting with colleges and ordering products
online instantaneously. Via email and company networking sites like LikedIn, we
are ALWAYS available. Before our ability to take our work home with us on
portable devices like phones, laptops and tablets, we were able to leave work
at our desks. Now, we find ourselves constantly checking our email when we are
on vacation or handling crises from our living room. Making ourselves readily
available and relentlessly trying to keep up with the 24/7 nature of the Internet
has drastically changed the PR agency model. Now we are able to attend to a
crisis right away, update a news story as it is evolving and respond to
customer questions immediately, rather than a few days later.

How
we reach, obtain and utilize user feedback has also changed the shape of the PR
agency model. Knowing that users are consistently updating their social media
sites and writing product review blogs, it is easy to see how this has changed
PR. Rather than writing and mailing in rave reviews or complaints, users are
able to chat virtually about products on blogging sites, and social sites like
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and many more. These sites and the
people posting about these products are the key influencers when it comes to
people wanting or disliking your product. Gone are the says of product
marketers having a one way communication stream, beating the Unique Selling
Propositions (USPs) of a product into the end consumer. Today the power is in
the hands of the consumer, since their peers value their opinions on review
sites, which are directly impacting sales of the product for the manufacturer,
positively or negatively.  

Apps
have also paved the way for a new kind of PR agency model. Consumers of media
checking their local listing for news updates or even watching their news on TV
with the frequency that they once did. Rather, news apps, Twitter and YouTube
have taken the place of traditional news watching. With the touch of a finger,
you are able to catch up on the latest episode of The Walking Dead or see what
revealing outfit Kylie Jenner wore out. But if that doesn’t tickle your fancy,
there are plenty of other apps out there that can give you the updates you are
looking for in a matter of seconds.    

But
what does all of this mean for PR? It means a few things:

1. We need to succinct and speedy.
Rather than reading a full article, consumers are more interested in reading
the headlines and highlights as presented by social media sites.

2. PR is a 24/7 job. We will be
consistently working to make sure users will be receiving the latest and most
accurate information possible, almost in a play-by-play fashion.

3. Consumers are more likely to trust
their friends than a company. It is our job to appeal to these friends, or
“influencers” in order to sell and create lifelong clients.

4. Apps are hAPPening! More people
use their mobile device today to receive news than anywhere else. Make sure you
are mobile.

As
technology evolves, the PR model must change as well. As long as we are able to
keep up with the ever changing content that is social media, we are able to
connect with our consumers, solve problems and sell product. But how to we keep
up with something that is always changing? For years, the PR agency model was
the standard, but as social networking sites have come into play, agencies are
molding the traditional PR agency model to fit the ever changing needs of their
business, clients and audience.  As
traditional models have set the tone and helped to establish PR agencies, the
flexibility of the PR model has allowed businesses to thrive. Creating a model
that works best for your company is the key to a successful firm. Because
technology is always changing, your model will be changing as well. Though the
traditional model was the norm for many years, it is important that your
company evolves with the advancement of technology and social media sites.
Those who are willing to change will be at the top while those sticking to
traditional media will be left in the dust.

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Contributor: Morgan Duda, Executive Assistant at Marketing Maven