Is the PR industry dead? Yes, and no…

Intelligent Relations
By Intelligent Relations Team

What’s clear is that the PR budget competes with other marketing and sales efforts. For startups trying to maximize ROI, it’s hard to justify an activity as soft and frivolous as PR, especially when it runs in a black box with no clear metrics and little accountability. In 2021 alone, the global PR market reached $92.55 billion – but who has actually benefited from investing their last penny?

**Why PR has gained a mixed reputation **

PR alone does not bear the sweetest fruit, and any external media strategy must be embedded in a mature marketing plan to help a company become ripe.

It is often difficult to understand exactly how PR agencies work. Collaborating with journalists, PR agencies, and brand ambassadors makes measuring the ROI somewhat challenging.

While media placements can be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively, you can never accurately determine to what extent a mention in publications like Entrepreneur or TechCrunch multiplies the invested budget. Add to that, that metrics like “influence” and “awareness” are simply tough to measure.

You do still need to invest in PR

Still, the actual, tangible benefits can’t be duplicated by other marketing efforts. For one, the media industry’s biggest goal is to advance competition and challenge businesses. Journalists and editors don’t publish just any advertising-soaked text but make sure that every article published offers added value for the audience. Thanks to PR, your brand credibility can increase because of attention you can’t otherwise achieve with owned content.

In addition, the benefits of SEO are enormous: properly implemented, a smart PR campaign can generate links that guarantee exposure, leads, and sales. You have to admit that you’d unlikely refuse a link in a top-tier publication – and improving your SEO ranking through backlinks on high-authority sites is worth its weight in gold.

When PR is too costly

Let’s get it over with – PR is usually overpriced. Most PR firms are glorified salespeople who charge $10,000, $15,000, or more per month to open their Rolodex and introduce you (behind closed doors) to one of their contacts.

Yes, relationship capital is a form of capital, but assuming you’ve employed an agency for a year or more – are you richer in relationship capital than when you started? Somehow, these agencies always keep their relationships to themselves, even though you’re paying for them. Plus, engagement often gets put on the back burner – you get a few quick wins, and then later, when success dwindles, they shift the blame to you for having nothing newsworthy to share.

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