PR industry: Sinking or soaring?


Sarah Evans of Sevans Strategy (aka @prsarahevans) changed up today’s Commentz due to a conference in Chicago and the fact that she’s battling a nasty cold (poor thing) AND I couldn’t be happier. I love change! Anyway, she asked that we think about the current state of the PR industry and jot down our perception. This task is great for my readers and subscribers—for sure!

The fact of the matter is … PR (in my opinion) is the best and most cost-effective way to build reputation, create genuine dialogue and relationships with your stakeholders and builds the bottom line.

Now, PR Week (and other PR industry media outlets) may say that the PR industry is suffering due to the current economic slowdown. This may be true, considering financial reports show a decline in PR revenue at major communications holding companies. I disagree. I think the PR industry is thriving, I think it’s evolving rapidly into the PR 2.0 realm and we should embrace what’s ahead. What’s ahead, you ask? Here are my thoughts:

Beth Harte (aka @bethharte), mastermind in the PR 2.0 field (again, my opinion) is a great way for me to explain where I think the PR industry is now and where it’s going. I started following her and her highly engaging weekly Twitter chat, #pr20chat several months ago and found it to be the tip of the iceberg for what’s ahead.

Back in July, she posted a blog on “The Harte of Marketing,” where she explores what traditional PR is and what PR 2.0 is. Like a nail on the head—I was inspired. And I’ve been moving my way in that direction ever since.

PR isn’t just a smile, good networking skills and knowing how to tell a story that makes an impact. It’s being able to execute PR tasks with strategy, commitment, proactive leadership and intelligence. Social media relations and Web 2.0 technology has combined both traditional PR and Web 2.0 into a beautiful little bundle of opportunities that everyone should at least recognize and embrace.

Now I’m not saying social media relations will become a sole discipline of the PR industry, but I do think it is propelling an entirely new way of creating relationships and communicating. That doesn’t mean that everyone has to be an expert. Hell, I’m certainly not!

If we, as PR practitioners, can learn to expand our capabilities and understand how our profession is changing, we’ll be golden! PR industry? SOARING!

By the way, read a very interesting PRSA article today and it’s creating massive Twitter buzz in my community, “Status Update: Millennial Staffers Can Update Your Social Media Plans.” Interesting angle and (in my opinion) a prime example of how social media is still being misconstrued by our mainstream PR leaders. Curious … what are your thoughts?

FYI: @prsarahevans will compile responses in tomorrow’s Commentz in “thoughts for the day.” If you’re in the PR or communications profession and you’re not familiar with Commentz or Sarah Evans, I HIGHLY advise you check her out! She’s a mover and a shaker!

Photo courtesy of

Talk soon, Trish

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2 Comments, RSS

  1. RC September 17, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

    I read the PRSA article, and like you, I’m a bit concerned. I’m a big believer in having the face and name of any profile match the person behind that profile – so I don’t agree with having an intern manage someone else’s online identity.

    Also, this article just glosses through some very basic steps, so it seems geared to folks who may not be comfortable in social media – an area I think needs to be made a priority an any public relations (or marketing) plan.

  2. Beth Harte September 20, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

    Hey Trish,

    So glad that you are enjoying the PR 2.0 chats! I am so glad that you’ve been joining us. :)

    Regarding the PR industry…sure, everyone cuts back in tough times and they bring it in house. To me what’s happening to agencies isn’t an indicator of the industry. Personally, I think it’s wise to often bring PR in-house! Why? Because when an organization brings PR in-house it forces them to develop relationships with both media and customers. I think internal PR folks benefit from understanding what it takes to build and maintain those relationships. As well, it will also help them to understand what an agency’s job is, how time consuming it is and what they are paying for. It also help a PR professional know when an agency is, well, less than credible in what they are selling/doing. Even when I had an agency helping me with PR, I never gave up industry or customer relationships because it’s just plain smart.

    Regarding PR 2.0… I think we need to be careful to NOT give the perception that PR 2.0 is just traditional media relations using Web 2.0 tools (well, for me anyway). And that is what I use the chat for to explore all the different aspects of relationship management, tools, best practices, etc. PR 2.0 is a new opportunity to build relationships with ALL constituents using these tools. To think that PR 2.0 is just messaging pushing via a new media is very limiting. I can’t speak for Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge (the authors of books on the subject), and I know that Brian and I don’t agree on ghost blogging/twittering, but that’s how I plan to implement PR 2.0. So far, so good…

    Beth Harte
    Community Manager, MarketingProfs

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