Shel Israel’s post over on Global Neighborhoods a couple of days ago got me to thinking. The thrust of his posting was that a lot of "recovering publicists" (his words) were now taking to providing PR services in the blogging/new media space. "We all see huge opportunities and expect to be joined by many other quality consultants."
While I agree that companies need good guidance to help them navigate the blogosphere, and I concur that experts are needed, not your typical PR flak. But at the same time I am a bit concerned that if this trend takes hold, then the necessary integration between online and traditional communications will become weaker not stronger.
Let me explain these seemingly contradictory views. Fundamentally, I believe that the same folks who coordinate online messaging should be working on traditional media as well. Perhaps not the same exact individuals, but the same teams. In general, I am not a big believer in having one agency do outreach to broadcast and print while another handles blogs and other online opportunities. I would like to see agencies — and corporate communications shops — do a better job of building teams that have the range of skills necessary to provide a unified solution.
Unified messaging is all too often overlooked by companies as they enter the blogosphere. But there needs to be consistency in the messages being delivered. People frequently get information from on- and off-line sources simultaneously and if the messages differ, it will lead to confusion — or worse, distrust.
None of this should take away from Hubbub or Crayon or any similar agencies out there, but I do hope the trend is toward integrating these efforts within multidisciplinary agencies, rather than moving forward as lone new media silos.