The Future of PR in a Digital World

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Like it or not, the face of public relations has changed. In this increasingly digital world, PR is no longer about spreading your message to the passive, reactive public. Our audience is now more active than ever – even participating in our message – and companies that push against this are falling by the wayside.

So where does that leave the industry in the future? Will it even look remotely the same? How blurred will the lines between PR and social media be as the world continues to become more digitally-focused?

Social Media and PR

The public relations pros of today know that PR and social media are two entirely separate things. Sometimes, they intersect, but to speak of them in the same sentence just feels incorrect.

However, is that really the case anymore? A few years ago, sure, I could see making that case. But now? It really is almost impossible to talk about a PR campaign and not mention some sort of social media, even if it’s just building a basic Facebook page. You’d have to go out of your way to make a campaign that doesn’t involve some sort of digital footprint.

Female Bullhorn

In the future, don’t expect this to change. People have become accustomed to the idea of their favorite brands and companies talking directly to them. In the age of the “Press 1 for Blah” telephone service, it’s a welcome change and one likely to stick around.

Customer Service Crossover

Another big change that’s come in the past few years is the crossover between customer service and social media/PR. Honestly, consider the role of someone from Bank of America who answers questions on Twitter about bank accounts and overdraft fees. Is this person a customer service agent or social media/PR rep? How can you tell?

Certain jobs continue to mush together to form some completely brand new position. Ironically, though, I have a feeling this will lead to employees becoming MORE specialized rather than not. The more tasks PR and social media add to our calendars the more likely it will be that they will split off. Twitter Expert, for example, or Blogger Extraordinaire.

This is due to the fact that employees naturally are better at certain tasks. At the same time, companies will need the further coverage as their customers gravitate online, especially when future generations are the ones with all the dough.

The Far Future

What will generations of PR pros deal with in the far future? Hard to tell, but the way it’s going, I think it may lead to the eventual phasing out of a lot of PR and social media programs. Since everyone’s online all the time anyway, you won’t be able to separate their digital and real world identities.

As a result, you’ll know where everyone works and in what capacity. Why have a social media specialist when the world can see their brother’s cousin’s best friend works at the company you just bought the defective TV from? While there may still be dedicated specialists to handle the public’s inquiries, it may be less prevalent in years to come.

Where do you see the industry headed in the future?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of the Beginner’s Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases here:

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