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Monday, January 3, 2011

Is Your Professional Value Diminishing?

If you are a PR professional stuck in traditional media relations, you probably know that your professional value is diminishing.  

The days of interruptive outbound PR are ebbing away. While you still may get kudos for a well-placed article in a publication, you might need a detailed analysis of what that article meant in terms of generating qualified leads or re-Tweets.  Marketers today need to be triple-threat athletes, equally talented in three key areas: content, technology and market research.  And PR professionals need to come inside the marketing tent to figure out how to redefine their skill sets to work more collaboratively with the rest of marketing.

You still need to research, develop and write great stories and messages based on business objectives, but you also need to be sure those stories are adapted for target market segments and packaged in ways that each segment understands and values.  You will need to know how to use that content to drive readers to take action -- preferably to a landing page or website.  And you need to know how long they stay there, what they look at and whether or not they buy.  Your job is no longer just about generating press coverage and dropping a stack of clips on someone's desk.  Your job is creating great content that generates coverage and qualified leads.  You, my friend, are now either a bona fide digital marketing expert or a side show to the main event.  

You think I'm kidding?  A recent McKinsey study found that marketing now oversees 74 percent of customer-facing Web 2.0 initiatives.  Marketing also is increasingly involved in Web 2.0 initiatives involving suppliers and partners.  In other words, marketing is moving into a position where it tried to go for many years -- driving business decisions based on understanding the people who buy the company's products and services.  The difference between then and now is that marketers today have a direct connection to customers via digital media, and they are armed with the ability to measure and analyze the results of those efforts quickly and accurately in ways that draw the attention of the rest of the C-suite.  

The door is wide open for traditional PR professionals to expand their awareness and their effectiveness, but it is closing fast as a new generation of professionals who have grown up with the world of digital PR moves to the forefront of meeting the digital marketing needs of internal and external clients.


  1. This is especially true for small and medium sized businesses where PR "hits" in traditional media are irrelevant if they are not integrated with a digital strategy.

  2. Bill:

    Another nuts-on entry. Actually, I am preparing a public relations strategy now, but after reading your entry, decided to go back to the sales side of my client and ask the marketing department what specific challenges they are encountering among their sales team. Sure enough they had just published a matrix of objections, specific responses and historical variations within their target market. Guess what? The word "blog" "I read on a website" and other digital media reference points were cited 9X more than a year ago. As a result, I recommended a digital "day in the life" of our target customer, using both audio and video interviews. These interviews would then be fed to bloggers and actual buyers to demonstrate our clients' product hits what their customer's need. It suddenly become the focus of the entire PR Plan. Love this Blog! Thanks again, Bill.