The emergence and dominance of digital media has unalterably changed the way PR people approach their profession. It’s more than replacing fax machines with mobile devices, and adding jargon such as “hyperlocalized content” to our lexicon.
While the entire marketing communications industry has evolved in recent years, PR has been particularly impacted by the accelerating shift to a digital, mobile, and connected culture.
As someone who has been a PR practitioner for more than four decades, I welcome the fundamental changes. Unlike turntables and tube amps, I find little redeeming value in Rolodexes and pagers.
The most fundamental change in PR that technology has spawned is measurability. In the old days (prior to the Internet), it was virtually impossible to measure the results of a PR campaign. The only quantitative tool the industry could dream up was “ad value equivalency.” Print clips would be measured in column inches, TV news placements would be timed, and the “equivalent” paid media time and space would be calculated. There even would be a “credibility” factor added for good measure. The results would invariably show that the PR effort was “worth it.”
Today, of course, clients are accustomed to having real-time, accurate data to drive decisions. Business leaders want specific success metrics and a provable ROI. Outcome metrics such as Web traffic, leads, social engagement, search rankings, and even revenue can now be tied to specific PR tactics.
At Martino Flynn, our PR team is part of an integrated agency. All strategies and tactics flow together. Our people collaborate across departments and disciplines. Clients who retain us for PR services can expect to receive the following services:
Traditional news engine—A national, regional, or local media relations program targeting the general, business, or trade press, aimed at creating a steady cadence of news throughout the year;
Online digital footprint—A number of strategic programs, including active blogging, engaging social media, and industry influence outreach programs;
Analyst relations—Ongoing communication touch points and briefings with the top analyst firms; and
360-degree event support—Pre-, mid-, and post-trade show support in the form of speaker submissions, media relations, video teasers and comprehensive social media activities.
Marketers and PR professionals alike have grasped onto the power of compelling content to attract prospects, accelerate the buying cycle, create deeper relationships with their audience, and feed the social engine. While PR practitioners still write and distribute news releases, they also produce blogs, eBooks, infographics, videos, slide presentations, case studies, white papers, and more.
This is a golden renaissance for the PR profession. Never before has the industry been more valuable and valued. Even though new technologies have bred new tactics, the fundamental focus has remained the same: PR is a management function that influences public opinion through effective communication techniques and socially responsible actions. Our role hasn’t changed, just the means to the end.