Yes, PR Firms Do Make Sense
by Jennifer Fair on 03/02/2010
In a recent Huffington Post article, Grant Cardone asks whether or not PR firms are necessary anymore. Given the recent changes in the media industry and social media as a whole, this is a fair question. But all of those changes make me feel like PR firms are more necessary now than ever before.
Traditional PR Is Not Dead
Yes, it’s true that the media industry is changing, and staff sizes at media outlets are shrinking on a daily basis, but that does not mean that traditional PR is going away. The media industry will always exist and reporters will be there – we will just access the news in a different way, and I believe that the stories will be more investigative as opposed to breaking news. Reporters will continue to need PR firms to help secure interviews and background information as well as story ideas. The difference will be in how the final stories are viewed by the general public.
Social Media Has Changed PR
Even though PR firms still employ some traditional PR tactics, they cannot communicate with the media in exactly the same way they have in the past. Several years ago, news releases were snail mailed or faxed to reporters. Then e-mail took over – and now MMI tweets its releases in addition to e-mailing them out. We often see urgent reporter requests come through via Twitter that we would miss completely if we were ignoring social media sites. PR firms also have the relationships and skills necessary to make sure your messages are reaching the right audience online. A recent survey said that without a PR firm knowing who to follow and what to say, your message may not ever reach your intended audience.
The Bottom Line
While anyone can start a blog or launch a Twitter account, PR firms have the relationships with media and the understanding of traditional and social media to make sure the message is heard. If you e-mail your release to the wrong person or only have two followers, it doesn’t matter how good the message is – no one will see it. As Cardone said in his article, “No matter how good your message, you have to get people to stop doing what they are doing and look!”
This is true, but I would add that you have to get the right people to stop and look. Having 1,000 followers on Twitter doesn’t mean anything if none of them is interested in your product or service.