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The Broadening Scope of PR

The following is from an excellent 8/1/19 Public Relations Today post, Why Earned Media is Still Relevant in PR, by Dorothy Crenshaw of Crenshaw Communications.

As the influence of digital and social media has soared, PR agencies that focus primarily on earned media (i.e. news and feature articles) are often warned that they’re falling behind. There are regular calls for PR services to include paid media and move on to other things.

The truth is, PR has become much more than media relations. It’s also about the bottom line; the fastest way for PR agencies to grow is to offer more services, ideally those that can be automated and offered at high margins. PR agencies naturally want a piece of the digital media budget pie. This is especially true for larger agencies.

Earned media work is notoriously hard to scale. It’s difficult and time-consuming — an inexact and often inefficient process that takes talent, imagination, and timing, and that rests on media relationships (which have become increasingly fleeting). No PR firm can skate by on one big media placement for months anymore—clients expect a more rounded portfolio of services. However, people still find earned media more credible than anything else—with the exception of posts by independent bloggers.

It always comes down to credibility. That’s what earned media offers – within limits – and that’s what many PR agencies representing large organizations still deliver almost exclusively.

There’s also the credibility of the agency offering itself. The mega-firms who’ve invested in both earned and paid media services can plausibly do so, but many simply can’t be all things to all clients.

Read Dorothy Crenshaw’s full article

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