April 22, 2016 / by Sean Couch

State_Of_PR_2016-1.jpgAlmost every Friday during lunch the TrendKite team enjoys a visit from a guest speaker -- a weekly event we like to call Bytes & Bites. Last week we listened to the CEO of JDI (Jones-Dilworth, Inc), Josh Jones-Dilworth, share his thoughts on the current state of PR and what he has learned since opening a boutique agency that brings emerging technologies to market.

Before JDI, Josh spent five years at the global agency Porter Novelli, specializing in digital strategy. His civic, philanthropic and mentoring affiliations include: The Entrepreneurs Foundation, The Fifty @ Seton, Pipeline, TechStars, Capital Factory, and The McDonogh School of Baltimore.

Overall, Josh discussed the growing intersections of the PR ecosystem with marketing and sales ecosystems and the convergence of earned, owned, and paid media into unified campaigns. Big takeaways from Josh's visit were:

PR Now Has Two Extremes

Stories are written at an alarming rate today. News cycles are shortening faster, and PR is becoming more transactional to the point it now resembles high-frequency trading.

On the other end of the spectrum, long-form content is emerging that's filled with high production value assets such as video, infographics, audio, photography, and more. It's more difficult than ever to find a middle ground. Today, PR professionals have to choose between these two extremes and do their best to succeed.

Fighting For Continuous Partial Attention

Content is being consumed at massive levels across multiple devices -- leaving PR professionals and journalists battling for their attention. A great example is the rise of caption filled videos. More news outlets are using this feature because frenzied readers are constantly multi-tasking and consuming various pieces of content at once. Captions eliminate the need for volume control or noise that may disrupt potential readers.

Facebook’s Instant Articles are a great response to this growing trend as well. Instant Articles are the social network’s answer to get more publishers to create fast and interactive content that readers can access in seconds.

How can we better deliver media and content in an age where everyone has continuous partial attention?

PR Is Now Multi-Disciplinary, Cross Departmental & Done More In-House

More clients and brands are searching for integrated marketing professionals that have diverse skill sets. You'll hear more demand for "full stack" or "integrated marketing" teams that go beyond traditional PR tactics.

There is also an exodus of talent leaving large agencies. More professionals are joining in-house teams or smaller specialized boutiques that brands lean on for highly targeted campaigns.

Money Shifting From Owned to Earned

Changes in social media channels are causing a shift in how content is shared and consumed. Brands and media outlets are moving budgets back to earned channels because the content is likely to see better engagement because of new social algorithms and report positive SEO results. Also, earned media is being seen as a more credible source and brands are re-targeting content that has high production value into their owned and paid channels.

We learn a lot from industry veterans who come into the office and visit with our team. Their shared knowledge helps us improve our products and adapt to an evolving industry. Make sure to follow Josh on Twitter (@joshdilworth) and keep the conversation going.

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