Our PR messaging channels don’t work the same way they used to, thanks to the new social PR model.

4 Social PR Effects | 2

As we discussed in Part 1 of our Social PR Disruption series, social networks have changed our communications programs due to changing the way that our personal communications work.  The power of social media lies in the social networks that make the everyman a media outlet, and it’s those social networks that carry the conversations that we as marketers care about.

Those conversations can:

  • Start anywhere
  • Be started by anyone
  • Die anywhere
  • Change and grow
  • Be amplified ad infinitum


We talked about target audience disruption in our first installment; today, we’ll talk about channels.

Our communication channels used to have very defined borders, with an audience specific to that channel – and we could speak directly to that audience.

That is still, often times, where our messages start: if we earn placement in the New York Times, for example, that’s a direct line to a limited number of people… right up until people start sharing the article.

Paid Media has Diminishing Returns, but a Known Audience

In paid media, our returns are ever-diminishing: we pay for placement, but throwing more money at that placement is going to become less effective the more we spend – and eventually it’ll raise the average cost of the piece of content.  The channel is limited, but it is a direct line to a defined audience.

Social Networks Enable Attuned, Viral Word-of-Mouth & Earned Social Media

When our earned or paid traditional media is shared on social networks, however, we have the potential for limitless message amplification.  Call it word-of-mouth, going viral, or engagement, it all means the same thing: content gets shared with one’s social network, and the payoff is earned social media.  This message amplification is the reason that, no matter whether we’re in PR or social media, our #1 goal in the modern communications landscape is to spur social engagement.

Social media is dependent upon social networks, and those networks are made up of people who are uniquely attuned to the other people in their social networks.  That attunement is what makes the social share so powerful.  While the Wall Street Journal can give us a community targeted by demographics, our Facebook friends are paying attention because they know us, and we’ve built up a level of trust with them.  If our Facebook friends and Twitter following have come to rely on us for sharing interesting content, we’re more than an online influencer: we’re a media outlet.

Stay tuned for the third social disruptor of PR, coming soon to this blog near you.