Public relations is going through a massive transition. The reasons are many, and frankly, I’m not going to delve into them here. As the public relations industry, and its practitioners, evolve, they are starting to use different terms to describe what they do and who they are.
One term emerging from the more progressive-thinking PR pros (such as the guys at Fresh Ground) is storytelling. The idea behind this is public relations (or, more precisely, media relations) should no longer be about pushing specific stories to the news media, but instead telling stories that engage multiple audiences.
One challenge, though, is that change is hard. One can craft themselves a storyteller and push, pull and drag the client into the new world that is community, content and collaboration, but often the client still wants that press release. You know, the one that says version 126.96.36.199 is the most revolutionary widget, offering scalable, flexible, robust, enterprise-class, mission-critical capabilities with high ROI and low TCO.
Changing opinions and fixed ideas about “how to do PR” is not going to be easy for the storytellers. In fact, it’s going to be darn hard. Some clients will get it, but many will fight it. And they will wonder why they have to work so hard to get “coverage” in the remains of that trade magazine that used to be the hottest thing ever.
The clients that do get storytelling will see the proof: in customer and prospect engagement, Web site traffic, and yes, coverage. After all, who doesn’t love a good story?