Mark Twain once said, “The report of
my death is an exaggeration.”
The same can be said about the PR
The latest death knell can be heard
in a great discussion going on in Linked started by Rick Vargas, who asked:
“Social Networking: Is the death of Public Relations on the Horizon?” Most of the commentators have
rightly answered the question in the negative, saying that social media in fact
has reinvigorated PR, emphasizing that PR was never just about media relations.
Still, the fact is that the
death-of-PR-type questions get raised all the time.
I think that has to do with a
fundamental misunderstanding of PR. And, perhaps, we as PR professionals have
no one but ourselves to blame for this.
Ask the average business person what
PR is and I bet the person will say it’s all about press releases. And while PR
professionals still write press releases – to get an idea of the seemingly
bottomless pit of them check out prnewswire.com or buseinsswire.com – that is
only a small part of what PR does. As a number of the commentators on LinkedIn also
indicated, it doesn’t require an advanced degree to write a passing press
release (though it does take some training to write one that is readable!).
Where PR professionals can add value
is when it comes to setting the overall messaging strategy for a company. While
marketing should lead the charge, PR should be a key part of the process, helping
craft messages so they resonate for media, bloggers and the average client.
PR’s evolution is a natural
extension of the changing purchase funnel. Much has been written about the fact
that the traditional purchase funnel of Attention, Interest, Desire and Action
is no longer applicable. Online search has changed the funnel making it more of a loop than a funnel as consumers consider more brands as they get closer to making a
Here are ways PR can be even more
useful during this expanded consideration phase:
Content: Prospects when they’re
first getting started want easily accessible information. PR professionals can
create FAQS, introductory videos, enewsletters, blog posts, tweets – and yes,
Content.” Prospects as they dig deeper want more engaging content. PR
professionals can create articles, white papers, thought leadership videos,
case studies, testimonials and demos.
Post-Sales Content. After the sale, PR professionals can instill further
customer loyalty by continuing to provide engaging content that educates and
adds value. Think about offering free educational webinars and other content to
make your products and services more valuable.By Wendy Marx, a PR and Branding Specialist, Marx Communications