PR in 2012: Brand Journalism Hits #10 (with a Bullet)
Pardon the analogy to Billboard magazine's music charts of days gone by (couldn't resist), but as we look back at 2011 and eagerly look ahead to 2012, it's refreshing to see the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) take another look at its crystal ball in "#PRin2012: 12 Trends That Will Change Public Relations" in its PRSAY blog.
Actually the post contains a lot of interesting observations -- from "business increases its voice in the digital space" (#1) to "talent acquisition goes social" (#12). What I found to be particularly interesting were some of the items in between, like "organizations will be defined by communication" (#3) -- how true! -- and the ones that referenced the growing importance of analytics and data-driven decisions in the public relations process -- including "the rise of the influence professional" (#5) and "shifting metrics and integration drive digital PR" (#7).
However, amid all of the observations, I believe that "the rise of 'brand journalism'" (#10) deserves the most attention:
"Layoffs and rapid turnover mean many PR pros are finding it difficult to establish solid relationships or earn the attention their promotional efforts may deserve. Enter Brand Journalism. As media fragmentation continues relatively unabated, look for more companies in 2012 to explore the realm of Brand Journalism by hiring their own “reporters” to produce brand content and news. While enticing, companies will need to carefully weigh the ethical perils present in Brand Journalism." (Derek DeVries, communications technology
manager, Grand Rapids Community College)
Public relations professionals always need to be aware of the ethical perils present with any company they represent or in any activity in which they engage (and the list of PR "nightmares" of any year past is always very sobering).
That said, companies in 2012 will need more than ever to differentiate themselves through their stories and by creating consist and compelling content that reaches their key audiences -- whether it's via traditional, digital or social media channels. That's brand journalism in a nutshell and why it's so important in today's deluge of news, information and data -- let's see how fast it moves up the charts in 2012 ...