Technology Keeps Evolving, But At Its Core PR Is Still All About The Story

According to research by Google, the top 10 search terms in 2011 were:

  1. American pop singer Rebecca Black from the hit TV show Glee
  2. Google+ social network
  3. Ryan Dunn (American reality television personality and daredevil)
  4. Casey Anthony (TV trial for murder)
  5. Battlefield 3 (video game)
  6. iPhone 5
  7. Adele (pop star)
  8. Japan earthquake/nuclear reactor issues
  9. The late Steve Jobs
  10. iPad 2

So what does all this tell us about our society? While technology is interesting and we use it each and every day, people are just as interested in reality TV and other celebrity-driven news. I’m surprised that nobody named Kardashian appeared on the list, but I’m guessing that most people have already had enough of that no-talent family. I’m also a little shocked that Osama bin Laden was not listed but maybe that story saturated the TV news so heavily that few felt the need to learn more online.

Yet for all of the paparazzi-type of headlines in 2011, the headline-grabbing news about the tech sector continued to amaze me. Tablets, eReaders, cloud computing, virtualization, HP’s demise, RIM/Blackberry troubles, and Facebook, Twitter and Google’s continued rise captured the headlines. So what does 2012 hold in store? If you are interested, here are predictions from three technology news outlets to ponder: Informationweek, c/net, and Baseline.

For me the biggest “must watch” for 2012 is the growth in use for mobile technology. Having a smartphone is fine, but having applications that allow me to not only stay connected but simplify my everyday life, i.e. mobile banking, will continue to rise.

For those of us in the world of high tech PR, I see a few key issues that are changing our workplace landscape. First, I grapple with is the constant movement within the editorial community, as well as editor’s preferences for being contacted. Do they prefer a phone call? Are they mostly on e-mail? Do they like being contacted via social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook? While these questions may be hard to answer, since everyone has their own preferences, it all comes back to the message or story you’re trying to tell.

Second, the continued rise of bloggers. How influential are they? What role do they have in traditional journalism? How can PR pros work with bloggers?

Third, while keeping up with editor’s on the move is a big enough challenge, what about controlling the flood of content? Personally I find I can only keep up regularly on a few websites. Staying up to date on news and trends is a huge challenge.

Lastly, measurement and reporting continues to be a mystery within the PR world. Is it worth collecting the number of hits on an article on a website? How much value should be placed on Twitter feeds or reposting of Tweets?

These are tough questions to answer but with our world changing on a daily basis, it’s important constantly be asking ourselves how we can improve and generate impressive results for our clients?

To me it’s all about knowing your market. How does the editor work (do they want customers or analysts?), what do they write about, and ensuring that the story I’m pitching is geared to the publication’s readership. Those elements may be obvious to some but I find that I constantly have to remind people that it’s the story that sells, not the incredibly cool technology nor the flamboyant CEO, although those don’t hurt.

I’m curious to hear from other PR pros out there. What do you see heading into 2012?

Rob Goodman

Author: Rob Goodman

Rob Goodman is a communications professional with more than 27 years of experience in public relations, marketing and content creation.