Discussions around the current state of public relations – relative to where the industry was five years ago – inevitably boil down to the slow but steady demise of print newspapers and magazines, or that an organization absolutely must use social media, infographics, Slideshare, and so on.
I think that all kind of misses the point. Sure, maybe there aren’t as many CMOs busting into the Executive Suite brandishing a copy of The New York Times with a feature on their company with the assumption it will vault sales, or the brand, into the stratosphere.
It’s more about, ok, so I have a piece of content here that could be valuable for my company – in this case it’s a news article but it just as well could be a case study, or research paper, product launch announcement or marketing campaign – and now I have to figure out how to fully leverage it. Could the content be multi-purposed into a lead gen white paper campaign or speaker series? Can I use the content to capture new leads through a dedicated e-mail or search marketing campaign? And if I do these things, is my website optimized in a way to fully capture these leads? Finally, do I have a way to get these leads to my sales team to translate the content into new business?
Moving beyond the content, there is also a breakdown of what had been considered traditional channels to distribute content and communicate with consumers, partners, and customers. The channel is really anywhere that these target audiences reside. It might be the website for an industry publication, a webinar audience or physical Conference, but it could just as easily be Kickstarter, YouTube or Pinterest.
That, to me, is a big part of where public relations currently resides. The need for an integrated perspective that governs individual initiatives for PR, branding, digital, creative, social, advertising is key to ensuring that public relations efforts do not simply wander from one announcement to the next. This isn’t to say that today’s PR firm has to offer every single service, or that there isn’t a critical role for PR specialists to play. But it does mean that these moving parts must communicate and align with one another, and my opinion is that PR firms moving the needle today are the ones who understand how to make the pieces work together for the benefit of the client.