Something I get asked quite often as I travel around the country meeting people – be it at events, new business pitches or press conferences – is “As a PR person how do you define your role?”. It’s a good question and I often throw the question back at them and ask them what they consider it to be. The response is always interesting. Some people think it’s about raising awareness of the company through strategic communication, some think a PRs role is to support the sales funnel while others have said it’s there to support the advertising campaign. The thing is none of these are wrong. It’s all of that – and more.
A recent article in PR Week claimed that too many companies use PR people as an extention of their sales team, measuring results by the spikes they see in their sales and revenue figures. Some companies are even using their PR people to sell products and services. We’ve never been asked to do that at Reality PR, and while myself and my team are happy to role our sleeves up and do whatever is needed to help a business succeed I do think that this part of the business is best left to professional salespeople.
The thing is, PR has changed radically. PR is not just about press releases, media conferences and launch events, it’s a discipline that knits together all of the processes that help a business grow and succeed. Thought leadership articles, produced by good quality writers, help to guide a business and its people as much as promoting the company and its management team. They help the SEO marketing process through link building and keywords. Well produced case studies that offer readers real value and expert advice also serve to support the business advertising funnel by reinforcing the message that the business has lots of satisfied customers and you could join them. Social media channels reach out to markets with crafted strategic messages designed to bring brands to life makng them current and relevant while encouraging people to get involved. Isnt that what a good salesperson does? So, you see how PR has changed and how it’s not longer something you can put a label on and say “ Ah, here’s the PR person, they do this.” There is no pidgeon hole for PR anymore, it’s now part of the aviary.