The End Of PR As We Know It
While ‘Social Media and PR’ continues to rank highly in search engine terms (223 million according to Google, if you really wish to know), ‘Content Curation and PR’ is rapidly catching up, demonstrating that this ancient concept (for so it is, given that ‘Curators’ have been around since the dawn of history) is fast gaining credibility among PR professionals. However, there is still a certain degree of confusion between curation and aggregation.
In recent weeks, a number of our clients have been approached by web developers offering them a solution which, in their words, would, ‘greatly enhance SEO, bringing more visitors to your web site’.
When we investigated these ‘solutions’ they were nothing more than automated news aggregators – precisely the sort of tools that tend to be mismanaged and end up creating more trouble than they are worth. These aggregators work without intelligent human interaction and it is the addition of intelligence that makes content curation such an effective tool, not only in terms of searching for appropriate sources, but also adding comments and pertinent information to curated items.
Digital content curation is going to be the battleground between classic PR and Online marketing specialists, such as web designers and SEO professionals. Traditional print-based PR is already on the wane. This is symptomatic of what is happening to conventional journalism, which is morphing into a more anarchical profession where the distinction between bloggers and true journalists is blurred, certainly from an audience perspective.
While I am not saying that pushing articles to the press is the only tool at the disposal of PR professionals, it’s always been a key ingredient of their trade, certainly in the B2B sector. Thus the disappearance of this weapon from their traditional armoury is bound to create some shockwaves and a rethink of what PR is for.
Content curation will greatly accelerate this process and basic curation tools such as Scoop.it, Trap.it, Paper.li etc, can already be easily integrated by customers and PR professional alike, with reasonably satisfactory results for very basic interactions. In the instance of more advanced technology platforms (e.g. Curata), the level of sophistication in terms of sourcing, sorting and sharing is such that if these systems are set up correctly they are able to learn, making qualitative assessments on specific topics. The end result is tailor-made content for each visitor to the customer’s site, contributing greatly to SEO and brand loyalty and, therefore, prospective additional business.
So, gazing at my crystal ball I can see that future PR will be more about assessing, evaluating and sharing existing content than creating new material, as well as learning new skills and introducing new experts, preferably young and creative talents with a strong digital background, or partnerships. It will be those PR consultants that can easily adapt to this new paradigm who will end up winning, and there will be many casualties, large and small, on the road to success.
Posted by, Maurizio Fantato, a member of the Evoke Network.