With many companies taking on their own social media and PR duties these days, is there still a need for public relations experts? Can PR stand the test of time, or is it just another phase of advertising?
There are several reasons why PR is safe and will continue to be for years to come:
1. PR is about relationships.
Public relations isn’t just about selling to an audience. The ultimate goal might be to move a product, but the heart of a true PR campaign is the need to build relationships with the public. In this digital age, it’s more important than ever before. People don’t want you to sell to them; they want a real person to tell them about a cool thing they could use.
2. PR pros understand communication channels.
Although your message may be the same throughout the years, the channel will always change. Public relations experts know the proper channels and which ones make the most impact.
Coca-Cola has been around since the 1800s, but it doesn’t use the same PR tactics it did then. It adapted to radio, TV and the Internet, and it will continue to change channels. However, the overall message is still “Coca-Cola is delicious to drink.”
3. PR helps brands show their true faces.
Trust agents are people customers can relate to. If a business doesn’t have the proper trust agent to represent the company, it can greatly damage the public’s trust in the company. Public relations pros know it can take a lot of tweaking and deep thought to arrive at the perfect blend of professionalism and laid-back coolness.
4. PR helps brands improve products.
One of the major advantages of building relationships with your customers is finding out what works with your product and what doesn’t. Simply selling to customers doesn’t tell you that most of your audience thinks the on/off switch should be vertical rather than horizontal. You can only learn that by getting to know them and listening to what they have to say.
5. PR is subtle.
One thing even the most hardened haters of PR can’t say is that it’s all about the in-your-face experience. PR is a subtle way to convince the public it needs what your company sells. This is also the reason opponents say PR pros are guilty of manipulation. However, PR is about knowing what people want and how to get it to them. While advertising is about the in-your-face, PR dips below the radar to achieve life-long customers. That skill isn’t going anywhere.