Does PR need a rebrand to better reflect what we do?
Last week, my colleague Courtney and I attended the Penistone Grammar School careers speed networking event. We had the opportunity to speak to around 200 year 10 students, who visited in small groups, about careers in PR, social media, and marketing.
The first question we asked each group that visited us was; do you know what PR is? None of the students knew what PR stood for or what it involved.
Yet when it came to social media, they instantly knew what we were talking about – no surprise there! But it got me thinking, does PR really get across what we do for clients these days and is PR, in fact, ready for a rebrand?
How has PR changed over the years?
Over the past 15 years, the PR industry has changed massively. Fifteen years ago, social media was a small, insignificant part of any PR campaign, whereas now it can often be the most important part.
The role of a PR agency has become much broader. We are no longer just required to write articles for magazines and newspapers, but for blogs, websites, for social media channels like LinkedIn, e-newsletters and also to create content including reels and videos.
So, if PR is so broad in its scope these days, how do we communicate what it is to young people looking to start their careers? And how do we demonstrate what we do, for the benefit of construction, manufacturing and B2B businesses who we can help with much more than just media awareness?
The exciting thing about a role in PR is that it is ever changing. We’ve seen huge transformations in the way we work in the 25 years since I started out in public relations. When I was a junior PR Exec, we sent press releases out in hardbacked envelopes with a printed photograph that had to be carefully double captioned on the back.
It all seems rather archaic now. News was slower to appear then too and if a client had a product to launch in September, we sent the press release to the magazine by mid-July to ensure it hit the September issues.
Fast forward to today and a press release we sent out this morning, could be on the local, regional, national or trade news channels within minutes. News is more instantaneous but the skill of being able to identify and present a good story, are still valid.
Capturing a great story for the construction and manufacturing industry
With clients in the construction and manufacturing sector, we let them know if a story does not have sufficient news value, or suggest ways a story could be tailored to make it more newsworthy. For example, an investment story that can be linked to a tangible benefit to employees, customers or the environment is always going to generate more coverage, as is an article tackling a topical industry issue, giving tips and advice.
A quality photograph is always a bonus and, in the construction and manufacturing sector, a location shot, featuring a person in an industrial or building setting can help ensure we achieve high profile coverage in regional and national press.
AI in the PR Industry
The introduction of AI into marketing means that SEO agencies can generate content easily for blogs and websites with very little actual work done, but clients can also find that it adds very little value.
AI definitely has its place, but the value that PR can bring to the party is that the content we generate is authentic. We can verify the sources and ensure the copy is quality checked, non-Americanised (or tailored to particular countries/languages) and relevant to the client and industry. We also have well established relationships with all the media – both printed and online, so this means that we can negotiate inclusion of our articles and blogs and request a backlink.
For some of our clients, the online PR we secured on external blogs, websites and media actually results in significantly more backlinks than the SEO agency is generating for the same client, where they often have larger budgets.
So how could PR be rebranded to make it more self-explanatory, both to clients and to new entrants to the industry?
A couple of years ago, we started talking about content management and being a content creation agency, rather than PR, which generated quite a lot of interest. However, it is usually our media relations skills and editorial relationships which really do make the difference to clients.
As clients expect us to manage their PR, online content and social media channels, having a versatile team with complementary skills becomes ever more important. And this is where Dragonfly PR has a competitive advantage.
Our ability to understand how the search engines work, combined with being able to create good quality content, plus maintaining good relationships with media, bloggers, influencers and online sites, means we will continue to generate great results for clients.
For more information on PR, content management, social media and digital PR for business-to-business companies, particularly those in the construction and manufacturing sectors, please email: email@example.com or call 0114 349 5341.