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Public relations is sometimes referred to as the "persuasion business," and that nickname says it all. PR campaigns are largely about convincing an audience that something (such as an event, a person, a company, or a transaction) is important and supporting that claim with clear reasons.

However, it may be time for the PR industry to start campaigning on its own behalf. Global industry growth slowed to 5% in 2015 marking a significant downshift from its double-digit growth just two years prior. Meanwhile, spending on PR information and software is going up, reaching $2.9B in 2015—a 5.5% increase over 2014.

The diverging dynamics show that in 2016 and beyond, PR needs to be a business of technologically powered proof—not just persuasion.

For the PR industry to grow and thrive, it needs to prove its direct value in the most tangible ways possible.

Amid the ever-evolving digital media landscape, the following best-practices will be integral to proving the value of PR efforts delivered by agencies, firms, and in-house departments of all sizes.

Owning the discipline

The lines between marketing, PR, and digital media are getting so blurry that even leading PR stakeholders are unsure what to call themselves. A recent global survey found that only 27% of agency leaders believe that by the year 2020 the term "public relations" will clearly and adequately describe their work.

This isn't a brand-new issue in the sector. The difference between a "strategic communications consultancy" and a PR firm has never been crystal-clear. But even as content marketing, brand strategy, and other disciplines increasingly infiltrate the PR field, industry stakeholders need to own the importance of PR. 

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image of Chris Morrison

Chris Morrison is president of MediaMiser, an Innodata company that offers a global media contact dataset and a comprehensive toolset of media intelligence solutions and services for PR organizations of all sizes.

LinkedIn: Chris Morrison