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Public Relations: Call off the Undertakers

There’s an interesting discussion going on online about “Is the PR Business Extinct?” 

There’s an interesting discussion going on online about “Is the PR Business Extinct?” 

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The talk was precipitated by one of these pseudo scientific pieces that throws around statistics, i.e.,70% of today’s PR firms with their traditional public relations and communications business structures will not survive the fast-approaching social media avalanche.”

Of course, there is nothing like outrageousness to get someone’s attention. The trouble is it’s grossly inaccurate. 

As a longstanding PR professional, from my perspective, PR is thriving as never before.  Sure, the newspapers we have been wedded too are imploding, but the Internet has provided an entirely new life for PR.  That’s because PR is not tied to any one media but serves a company’s public.  

In fact, this interactive age plays to PR’s strength, its ability to build relationships, create enticing content and get others excited about a company, individual, product or service. 

PR is also a necessity in this age of personal branding where messaging and content carry the day. Public relations practitioners like no other profession know how to hone and shape a message so it tells your story in a way that resonates with others.   

True, we may not be the most techno-savvy folks, but equally important, we know how to use technology to service our clients.  Any company worth its salt today should be consulting with PR people on its blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook profile, Linkedin profile and other social media.  As Guy Kawasaki noted, when talking about his Twitter account to the New York Times, “It’s a marketing tool.”  

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So before we assign PR to the ash heap of history, consider that public relations has only been around for a wee thousands of years.  Julius Cesar, for example, in 50 BC wrote his campaign biography for PR reasons — to convince the Roman people he would make the best head of state.   

I started thinking about all of this over the weekend when I attended a great conference run by PR Boutiques International. Full Disclosure: I am a member of this fantastic group of small PR shops based around the world. Eric Schwartzman, who spoke at the conference, reminded us that “New media doesn’t kill old media. Old media just adopts.”  

Similarly, public relations isn’t dying.  It’s evolving – and getting better.

 

Wendy Marx, PR and Personal Branding Specialist, Marx Communications

 

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Technorati tags: Public Relations, PR, Personal Branding

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About the author

Wendy Marx is President of Marx Communications, an award-winning boutique B2B Public Relations agency known for turning companies and executives, including start-ups, into thought leaders. Follow her on Twitter @wendymarx and on Google+ @ plus.google.com/+wendymarx.

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