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At multiple points in my 16+-year newswire industry career, I've thought to myself, "We're at an interesting point in the evolution of communications." The advent of the Web was one such moment, circa 1995. A few years ago, the rapid adoption of the interactive, user-driven technologies loosely clustered under the Web 2.0 umbrella gave me similar pause. The increasing power and influence of search engines has stopped me in my mental tracks several times.
And then there was social media.
Watching citizen journalists - and the folks who just like talking about stuff online - grow in importance and influence has been fascinating. At the same time, for a person who cut her teeth at the City News Bureau of Chicago, watching daily newspapers and other mainstream media flounder has been disconcerting, to say the very least. The granularity of information today and the fact that each of us, as unique individuals, can dictate the flow and our consumption of that information based upon what is relevant to us at that minute is changing the face of communications.
This change in who our audience is and how they get information represents a crossroads for us as professional communicators. The new terrain is marked by opportunities, but pitfalls abound, too. Tactics that were once effective are waning in efficacy and communications pros must now venture into new territory - namely, social media. Some big brands have hit home runs - think about the wildly popular consumer-generated Doritos ads that were featured during the Super Bowl last year. Other companies have missed the mark and many organizations have yet to even dip their toes into this pool.
To help you capitalize on a sea of changes like these over the years, PR Newswire has introduced the multimedia news release, search engine optimization and social media tools to communicators. Now, we're building a team dedicated solely to developing key audiences for your messages and developing better ways to engage people online.
The new Audience Development Group will be responsible for growing and maintaining our distribution networks, including those that relay news and information to journalists, analysts, bloggers and other publics. The team will be comprised of experts from a variety of media backgrounds and will be charged with helping our members use emerging media more effectively in their communications. We're currently recruiting for the team and we expect to have this team up and running by the end of the first quarter.
We're at an interesting point in the evolution of communications and PR Newswire's Audience Development Team will be helping you chart your course in the coming months.