Since the early 2010s, the phrase “the future of PR” has been buzzing around the industry. In a 2016 USC Annenberg survey, he found that only 27% of agency leaders believe the term “public relations” will adequately describe their work by 2020.
The following year, 90% of marketers and PR professionals told Annenberg they believed the two disciplines would converge and eventually intertwine.
Five years later, we are in a world of digital transformation. We still use the same terminology. Likewise, we are battling the same issues that have prevented us from fully integrating.
In fact, Meltwater says that only one in five PR professionals are involved in developing a company’s “overall marketing strategy.”
Mindset: Think like a business strategist
to tackle The future of PR You should encourage your team to:
- think critically
- Deepen your understanding of business,
- embrace technology
Muck Rack says that in 2021 the average PR professional will track just five metrics to prove the value of their work. These include audience reach and social media shares.
What’s not on the list? Revenue impact.
It doesn’t make sense to measure how many people clicked from Twitter to your website if you didn’t know if your prospects followed the funnel.
measure what matters
Boards and CMOs don’t care about high numbers. Their interests are qualified prospects and closed deals. This information guides their spending as they seek accelerated growth.
It’s hardly a new idea to say that if PR can’t quantify the impact on bottom line, it will be harder to justify bigger budgets, higher fees, and higher salaries.
Corporate PR spending has been steadily increasing since 2017. Despite this, only 7.5% of the marketing budget was spent on PR services in 2021. That’s the $81.6 billion the US PR industry left on the table last year.
Advanced Skills: Thinking Beyond Tomorrow
Along with a mindset shift, you need to equip your staff with integrated marketing skills. This takes us all. Below are our roles and responsibilities.
Try searching for “digital PR” on Indeed.com. Only 18 title matches were found in over 600,000 communication positions (0.0003%).
As an agency owner and head of communications, we must create modern positions and recruit diverse talent. This guides PR innovation and enables fluency and integration with digital marketers.
College & University
In general, college PR programs emphasize the lessons of yesterday.
Additionally, they are cut off from the curriculum leading to a business degree, which puts students at a disadvantage when it comes to finding employment.
PR Leaders: Inform your alma mater and faculty leaders about the roles and skills that today’s PR professionals need.
You and me
Yet a college degree and on-the-job training alone are not enough to sustain what the market needs of us as individuals. Here’s how to accelerate our capabilities.
- Absorb Business – Listen to a financial podcast, take a future board member training class, or give Robinhood a little money.
- play with software – Expand your knowledge of SEO, inbound marketing, and more. Enroll in the Digital Marketing Certification Program. Similarly, if your company has not invested in a large MarTech stack, take advantage of our free demos and video tutorials for automation, business intelligence, and measurement tools to see what’s possible. Maybe you can even convince your boss that you’re missing an opportunity.
- Get a non-PR mentor – Having a mentor in your field is like having the ghost of Christmas in the future.
Integrated marketing requires PR. The next few years will be crucial in addressing this challenge. Let’s get down to business.
Anna Ruth Williams Chief Strategy Officer and Partner at Alloy
[Editor’s Note: The writer’s views do not necessarily reflect those of PRNEWS. We invite opposing essays.]