Public relations: the career path that sits right at the intersection between journalism and marketing. Not concrete enough to have its own street, and not vague enough to blend in with its neighboring communities like advertising, marketing, or sales.
Sadly, Public relations used to have it’s own cul-de-sac, a place where good writers, media relations pros and folks with big contact lists could live, be understood, and be valued. But in 2015, clients are expecting public relations practitioners to be able assimilate to their neighboring communities without a hitch—and they’re not wrong.
Brands want PR to a part of their bigger campaigns, bigger bottom lines, and bigger outreach. This can leave many of us who work in public relations feeling like no one appreciates the skills needed to work with media members and consequently secure the right story for the brand. This feeling results due to brands wanting to know exactly how media hits pertain to their larger marketing or advertising goals at hand.
And we’re in luck, there are three ways to justify PR and ensure it’s still a relevant part of the game:
- Focus on the audience: everyone knows PR’s largest value comes from the 3rd party credibility delivered by a reputable source. However, some brands do benefit from placements published in non-traditional areas. To examine this, a PR pro must wear a marketing hat and decide if a guest-blogging opportunity or guest- speaking spot on a webinar is more valuable to a clients’ bottom line than the front page of a magazine. Audience can mean everything to a brand, so PR should first find the customers, then find the value.
- Switch it up: PR is in a great spot right now, as traditional media relations tactics no longer define the field. Especially since there is no such thing as “digital PR” anymore. Why? Because everything is digital, it’s just the way it is. If a brand doesn’t gain traction from traditional media placements, it’s completely acceptable to switch gears and try another medium and get results. For example, if social media is the spot where a brand can make the most noise, then it’s logical for PR to spend their time thinking of creative ways to leverage social. Hitting dead ends using outdated methods doesn’t lead to the results clients are seeking.
- Use the media: securing a great media hit is still a victory that yields high satisfaction for PR pros. However, the work is rarely done after the piece hits the newsstands/airwaves/broadcast outlet/blog. From publication date on, PR should recommend how the piece can be pushed out to target audiences, identify the mediums that are most likely to gain recognition, and determine exactly how long the press piece should be used in marketing.
It’s no surprise that the creative services world has become fully integrated in recent years- that’s old news. What is interesting to examine however, is the way each discipline uses one another to get the most out of a campaign. PR can leverage marketing, marketing can leverage advertising and social can encompass all three. Bottom line, integration leads to satisfaction- a place where everyone can live comfortably.