In doing some long overdue research into the field in which I have made my living for the past twelve years, I re-acquainted myself with Edward Louis Bernays (on Wikipedia mind you). Bernays is credited with developing what we know as Modern Day Public Relations in 1913. He believed that manipulation was necessary in society, thus the field of public relations and propaganda was born. While I am grateful for the birth of my profession, I find its roots, well…disturbing.
The good news is that the landscape of media has changed more than Bernay could have ever dreamed possible. Manipulation isn’t as easy to accomplish with more savvy consumers and a wider variety of medias to contend with. Consumer reviews, bloggers and self-publishing software are available to the masses, making information constant, honest. No longer are there only three major types of consumption (Radio, Broadcast, Print) when it comes to getting your information. Digital media is changing the role of Public Relations.
Today, PR and Social Media professionals are blessed (and challenged) with literally dozens of ways to reach an audience, specifically in the field of Consumer/Lifestyle PR. However, we have to be careful not to get caught-up in the latest ‘hot’ trend when trying to garner publicity for a product or service. One of my early mentors said any good campaign should start with the questions “So what?” and, “Who cares?” if you can answer both of those, you have a good chance of winning some points with your key digital media targets.
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