I’m often asked by colleagues and clients that given the decline in the newspaper industry and the growth of the digital world, “is PR dying?”

I’m happy to report it’s not. It’s evolving thanks to the growth in social and online media which is providing the industry with a treasure trove of new and exciting platforms for building brand reputation, raising awareness and managing and mitigating risk.

In essence it’s provided the PR industry with a host of new tools none of us dreamed possible just a decade ago.

Who would have imagined we’d be helping business owners and professionals showcase their expertise and solve business problems via LinkedIn or assisting CEOs become thought-leaders by blogging?

Also, who would have imagined that Facebook would become a powerful platform for customer engagement and feedback, that Twitter would enable people to become key influencers and YouTube would be the perfect instrument for disseminating information?

PR practitioners are by far among the best equipped professionals to manage social campaigns. After all, the intent of online engagement is not much different to good old fashioned PR – it’s primarily about sharing key messages with key audiences, creating perception and managing reputation.

Also, the content of PR and social media is not too dissimilar – less of the hard-sell and a focus on the things that are of value to viewers and followers (issues and trends, changes, legislation, innovation, information, not to mention a good dollop of education and advice.)

PR practitioners are also best suited to the long-term nature of social campaigns – we can provide our clients with a strategy; tell them what to tweet about and when and include this strategy in our overall PR plan. We can even write their posts for them.

And now with search tools like Google, Topsy and Social Mention,we can even help them stay current with online conversations, allowing them to react quickly to protect their reputations and take advantage of hot-button issues.