The PR agency of the future is a publisher

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Take a moment to think about what’s just happened in the last 6 months.

Think about how many different kinds of content these changes encompass. Video. Audio. Images. Text.

Think about what it costs to license information from all of the different stock sites you work with on a regular basis.

The public relations agency of the future will have a library, a digital repository of content that’s ready to go at a moment’s notice, and the associated creative team to help build and maintain it. Forward-thinking agencies already do. This library will be the equivalent of a stock photo repository, a stock video repository, a stock audio repository, and will be available to account staff so that when they’re representing clients in digital media, they have a wealth of materials to draw from.

See a funny comment on a client’s Facebook Page that deserves an image-based response? Open up the agency library and find an appropriate, on-brand, already-licensed or owned image and use it instantly.

See a YouTube critique of a client? Step into your agency’s video studio and record a video response for your client and post it immediately.

See an opportunity to run an image-based ad campaign to boost an earned media hit? Hit up your agency’s creative team and get an ad running in an hour to reinforce your media win.

Even employees will be media sources. Look around your office today and ask how many people own a DSLR camera or have accessories for their smartphone that go beyond the out-of-box equipment for audio and video. It’s more than you think. Employees of the future even may come with intellectual property licensing in their employment contracts that specify what of their personal intellectual property they license to their employer, under what conditions, and for what compensation. Is your agency prepared to deal with that? Are clients?

If this sounds like transforming PR agencies into publishers, it is, because that’s what all businesses are being forced to become. The value for a client is in not needing to set up their own publishing arm. We often talk about earned, owned, and paid media but neglect to give equal emphasis to the second word in those expressions: media. Without deep media capabilities, earned, owned, and paid don’t matter.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

Work at SHIFT

Posted on June 21, 2013 in Agency Life, Media, Public Relations, Strategy

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