Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
August 19, 2009

Social Media for Public Relations: Re-Inventing An Industry

Public relations is much more than endorsements and what many of the media, bloggers and the public have defined as “spin.” The practice of public relations has and will always be the art and science of building relationships, connecting people and measuring how these relationships with various publics lead to long-term value for an entity or organization (whether it’s in regard to government, investor, analyst, media, community or employee relations). 

The social media landscape influences the way public relations professionals approach and execute the practice of public relations. Social media is forcing a reform of the public relations industry and now requires public relations and communication professionals to act as research librarians, sociologists and cultural anthropologists, and content managers, among other responsibilities.

The changes that we’re experiencing allow us to take back our rightful place in the boardroom as a strong asset to any organization. We’re practicing a bottom-up strategy of listening to the public and then engaging as a meaningful resource and partner rather than the top-down, messaging push strategy of the past.�

As professionals, we must adapt our attitudes and roles, level of technological expertise and commitment to completely embrace the new public relations 2.0 responsibilities. If you started out as media liaison like many of us, then your career today requires you to take an active part within an organization as an influencer. We are not just handlers of information or facilitators of interviews. We are creating and producing content that helps people to learn; we are educating our clients, peers and the public relations industry on this new public relations movement.

By practicing New Public Relations (New PR), you will become the person that you want to reach by focusing your knowledge and skills on listening/conversations, CRM, Web marketing, Web analytics, customer service and viral marketing. 

The shift has occurred. Now, it’s time for you to decide if you want to be a part of the (r)evolution, and how committed you are to New PR and social media communications. Ask yourself, because your answer is crucial to the reinvention of our industry.

Deirdre BreakenridgeDeirdre Breakenridge, president, director, Communications, PFS Marketwyse, is a veteran in the public relations industry. Deirdre leads a creative team of public relations and marketing executives. Deirdre is an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, N.J., where she teaches courses on public relations and interactive marketing for the Global Business Management program. She recently finished her fourth Financial Times business book, “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations,” co-authored by Brian Solis. She has also authored “PR 2.0, New Media, New Tools, New Audiences,” “The New PR Toolkit” and “Cyberbranding: Brand Building in the Digital Economy.” Deirdre speaks publicly on public relations, online marketing and brand building. Past speaking engagements include the National Women’s In Network Conference, as a keynote speaker; the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA); The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB); Strategic Research Institute (SRI); Women’s Presidents Organization (WPO); Tier1 Research; and at a number of colleges and universities. Deirdre is a member of PRSA and has served on the board of NJ/PRSA and the New Jersey Advertising Club.

Join Deidre for her presentation at the Digital Impact Conference, May6–7,  in New York, NY!

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