It’s very en vogue nowadays to declare something “dead.” (Seriously, how many times will we kill off blogging or social media?) But, don’t be mistaken — being trendy doesn’t always translate to being right.
So, when Jeremy Porter at Journalistics — a blog I regularly read — pondered the demise of the PR agency, my first reaction was to dismiss it as just another death threat that wouldn’t amount to much, similar to proclamations of social media’s imminent death … despite the numbers telling a different story.
However, the post has been tweeted, retweeted, commented on and widely discussed. Apparently, a good number of people don’t see the value of outsourcing PR.
Here’s the thing: While services like HARO, and even ProfNet to some extent, make it relatively easy for anyone to secure a media hit, that doesn’t equate to a comprehensive communication strategy. And, that’s where PR agencies –big and small — still continue to play a valuable role. Where I work, Costa DeVault, we take great pride in our numerous HARO hits, but we also love to take the time to develop relationships with reporters, find out what kinds of stories interest them and develop a solid pitches that get our clients’ significant media coverage. Coverage that communicates key messages … positions them as thought leaders … reaches their current and potential consumers. At the same time, we’re complementing traditional media relations with blogger relations and other forms of online outreach.
Strategy drives PR agencies. (Despite what Michael Arrington says, good PR people do more than just smile, dial, name drop and pray.) We’re not focused on just getting that one big clip — we’re committed to helping our clients incorproate communication to achieve their overall business goals. (And, let’s not forget PR is more than just media relations … but that’s a post for another day.) While you can “do PR” without formal training, many companies don’t have the resources — time, people, or communication skills — to implement their own large-scale PR initiatives. Yes, they can get some clips … or a few mentions on blogs. But, some companies are more interested in well thought out, comprehensive communication strategies. Others need to augment their existing internl PR teams, who are being pulled in too many directions. And, that’s why PR agencies are still very much alive … so don’t start planning that funeral quite yet!