Online and digital are becoming a huge part of today’s PR world, with 2013 being dubbed “the year of video” by many in the industry. It’s a great tool to communicate and engage with a large audience, opening up a conversation for people to feedback and give their opinions.

This is why, to celebrate Firefly’s 25th anniversary, we chose to use the medium of video to take a look at the past, present and most importantly future of PR. Firefly CEO Claire Walker spoke to some of the individuals who are driving the industry ahead: from EE, to IBM, to LinkedIn.  We have 18 interviews up on the website already and another each day until 8th October, all giving first-hand insight into the PR world.

A topic that appears as a running theme in our videos is the press release. Back in the day, this was the “go to item” for sharing your news, however now it regularly appears to be, simply, ‘a corporate exercise’ according to Firefly’s Austin Brailey. James Uffindell, Founder and CEO of Bright Network, weighed in on the press release debate too, commenting that as PR develops and communications becomes more 24/7, the press release is bound to become less influential.

It seems the downward spiral of the press release has the growth of multiple channels partly to blame. Since joining the PR world a couple of years ago, I have seen a number of new channels being created to add to the ever growing ways businesses can reach their key audiences. The likes of Vine, Instagram and Pinterest have all come about and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of them stopping. The mono channel of media relations is no longer and James Uffindell added that journalists will have less centralised power due to this.Firefly 25 wordle

Richard Houghton, non-executive director of Firefly said that it is crucial you plan how to handle these channels and decide which content works best on which channel. Multi channel communication is a real benefit to PRs, but only if they use them in the right way. Not every channel will work for your client/company. For example, there is little point in having a Facebook page just for the sake of it when your key audience may all be on LinkedIn.

Social media in particular has completely changed the way in which news is broadcast. When a big event takes place, people are now immediately sharing eye witness accounts and video footage which news organisations then aggregate and share. Charles Arthur, technology editor at The Guardian believes this could pose a big challenge to the PR industry. When a disaster or event of interest happens, people are immediately disclosing their opinions on social media and with 554,750,000 registered Twitter users, this news spreads fast. Charles believes that this could create a problem for PRs – where’s the “control” now?

As Gill Hawkins, director of marketing comms at Savvis says, “Any PR agency that doesn’t have digital and social media as part of their offering will be dead in the water.” The future of PR is headed towards online with video, social and digital all being seen as important parts of 2013 PR campaigns. The way PRs communicate with journalists is 90% virtual, with press conferences being close to extinction and Andy Rogers, director of comms at CEDR wonders whether the office telephone will even survive.

We still have than 7 interviews to come out and I’m looking forward to hearing more about the past, present and future of PR from some prominent characters in the industry. It’s an exciting industry to be apart of, especially at an agency like Firefly which is rapidly expanding its client offerings.

If you would like to watch the videos so far then please head over to our newly designed website and look out for the upcoming videos on our LinkedIn and Twitter pages.

Melissa Scuse, Account Coordinator, Firefly Communications. Contact me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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