The blending of public relations with every aspect of social marketing, search, digital marketing, and plain old marketing has provided new opportunities for older, seasoned professionals to reinvent to keep up with the changes. I know this to be true, as I am one.
Sadly, this very blend may be the demise of PR as we know it.
In a recent conversation with a table of marketers IRL originating from the disciplines of search engine optimization turned digital; PR newbies turning digital; PR veterans turning digital/social marketing; and, old-hat marketers, the chatter surrounded the old vs. new of public relations.
The old teachings of the 4Ps stemming from advertising were unknown amongst the newest professionals. Those with search engine optimization competency likened public relations to search marketing. In fact, they said “PR is SEM.” Another had no idea that media relations and publicity are public relations just not the entire discipline.
Me? I merely shook my head in awe at the implications for my profession within this conversation. I walked away from that discussion with a sinking feeling for tomorrow. What will PR look like in 20 years? Based on what I heard, methinks the traditional public relations profession’s demise starts now.
The blending of the disciplines is removing every single barrier and silo from core competencies and making everyone look alike. Do young professionals and our sisters in marketing and brothers in SEO understand the value public relations professionals bring to the marketing mix? Apparently not, and who’s at fault for that?
Off the top of my head, this list below is not inclusive by any stretch, but it’s meant to provide a look at what pure public relations professionals deliver in a traditional sense:
- Media Relations
- Spokesperson Training
- Message Mapping
- Thought Leadership
- Blogger Relations
- Industry Analyst Relations
- Investor Relations/Stakeholder Communications
- Corporate Communications
- Internal/Employee Communications
- Events Planning/Execution
- Community Outreach
What shook me up from my in-the-flesh conversation was the correlation people made with PR and search engine marketing. That bridge is so far from the truth, and it made my heart stop to hear it.
I’m wondering if folks believe PR peeps are only good for stuffing key words into content to game traffic and organic search?
I am all for reinventing oneself in order to earn more revenue-making opportunities. What I’m not happy about is the future of public relations when those who lack traditional hindsight are teaching new professionals that public relations is search engine optimization is digital marketing.
By Jayme Soulati