Thursday, March 5, 2009

PR Poised for Growth in 2009?

According to the "Year-End Survey of PR principals," PR firms saw growth in 2008 despite harsh economic challenges toward the end of the year. The survey, conducted by the Council of PR Firms, questioned 57 Council members and firm principals. But while 60% reported growth in 2008, only 33% foresee growth in 2009.

Still, Social media is one area where PR pros do expect significant growth in 2009. The above-mentioned survey found that 79% of respondents agree. The creation of digital content is inexpensive in comparison to other alternatives and PR campaigns continue to include social media tactics as a part of the overall strategy. The cohesive implementation of effective social media tools could be a recipe for success.

This phenomenon is just what the doctor ordered for PR. But, PR pros must make sure to let other industries know that social media is their turf. Sure there are several industries that could, and should, use social media outlets as part of their overall strategies, but social media - at its core - most directly coincides with public relations objectives.

PR is the business of building and maintaining relationships. It is the business of communicating through various media outlets, including social media. Currently, there is an overwhelming amount of attention surrounding this new medium, which could ultimately lead to overwhelming new successes for the practice of public relations. Many firms and in-house departments have done a great job of building up their social media capabilities. This integration of new tactics with other traditional tools used in PR could lead to an increase in revenue and job security for those in the field.

This may take a little more time because of the current economic turmoil we find ourselves in, but the future still looks bright. According to the Council of PR Firms survey, social media and crisis management will best address clients' complex business challenges in the upcoming year, reported PRWeek.

Honestly, that makes a lot of sense to me. Social media is 'all the rage' right now and many decision makers are realizing the benefits of the transparency it provides. Giving one's company a personality is becoming the standard. Openness, accountability and personification are key ingredients of effective communications strategies. Unlike many traditional tactics, social media outreach can meet those demands.

We could sit around and talk about the terrible economy all day, but that really won't get us anywhere. I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking. The economy will get better. Its cyclical nature and history tell us that. Demand for consumer-generated media will increase and PR will be at the forefront of this revolution. So, even though experts have stated pessimistic predictions for the economy in 2009 there is still room for growth in PR. This may not come to fruition immediately, but at least there is hope.

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