Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - Will Google Wave Eliminate the Need for PR as Media Relations?

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@Shannon - my PR agency team at work is really good. They get it when it comes to developing relationships. I cannot say the same with many of the PR people whose constant flow of pitches I get. Most of the time their emails are so clearly cut and paste and just plain lazy. Every time I was interested in a story, the PR person could not speak to it at all and insisted on me scheduling a phone interview with their client. When it would be much easier for me to communicate by email... I've also had experience of interruptive and pushy PR professionals. An intermediary needs to add value to justify being in the middle. On the media side, many freelance trade writers do not have the deep technical expertise they need to cover their beat. They probably cover many industries or verticals to make ends meat. What I'm saying here is that self-service is a reality - whether we like it or not. Conversations with people who are passionate about a service, product or company are by far often more interesting and yield better value. I think every time we deny that something different like Wave will change things we close off to opportunities and change in our profession. Best practices are often the way we were.

@Rusty - the funny thing is that I'm getting a reaction out of PR professionals when I asked the question of whether Wave would eliminate the need for media relations. It's not like we haven't been talking about the decline of the traditional media model.

Another tool, another distribution channel. The strategy behind effective communications, and knowledge about the most effective tools or methods to facilitate communication between brands and customers will always be valuable.

@Valeria What if it's both? It could be argued that readership, or the perception of it, was the original community involvement. Now there is merely a direct mode to process feedback with the capacity to archive. But if you read commentaries on blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, Yelp, etc., it is painfully apparent that most people have little to add to the conversation and/or are ill informed. Then again, many people with something to say do it with only a star or a thumbs-up. The few commentators with expertise and writing chops tend to be journalists.

A PR professional has to be, to some degree, an expert on what they are pitching--they are a resource for the journalist that feeds the media outlet. This isn't going to change just because there are more voices and more outlets out there, which, even with the decline of print, is the case when you factor in every business entity has to be their own continuous online content generator.

What's happening right now is a little bigger than one-way-or-the-other question. Again, the PR professional has to utilize every available tool. Is it going to help to have unskilled third/fourth/fifth parties interrupt communication between the the source and the outlet with chatter? Do I want anyone seeing my pitch before I've tweeked the tricky second paragraph for the 100h time to get the wording right to attract the one voice that's going to build on the story and explode it across the masses? Faster conversations aren't tantamount to better or more accurate conversations. I have conversations with 100s of contacts every month, and there is no way a) they all would be interested in what I have going on all the time and b) I could keep up with simultaneous feedback from all of them.

Then again, maybe I should wait until I've had a few months with Wave before I pass judgment...

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