Hard times = good times for PR?

Posted on November 16, 2012 by Toby Brown

‘The first thing to be cut in a recession is the marketing budget’.

It’s a well-worn adage, but is it true?

Good times for PR

IPA Bellwether’s marketing spend reports of recent years have highlighted a dip in spend.

Despite this, recent statistics from the PRCA show that PR has been fairing well, despite these cuts, with investment and fee income increasing against a backdrop of continued economic instability.

This is an refreshing change, as PR is often the first discipline in the spotlight when companies look to save money. I personally think spend is holding up, because the whole industry is going through a period of rapid evolution.

From the pure-play media relations-only days of yesteryear, PR is quickly forging a new home for itself at the centre of the fast-growing content industry.

Content has almost become a dirty word of late, through overuse, but it has also become the central focus of a large majority of marketer’s lives. This is especially true in B2B, where the clamour for attention through content marketing has rapidly intensified despite the difficult business environment.

However, in many cases the perceived need for high volumes of content – to maintain visibility and fuel SEO - has reduced the overall quality of information being produced. Without getting this balance right, content is just as likely to never be consumed and can even have a negative effect on a company reputation.

The reason I think PR is performing well in this equation, is that content without truly compelling ideas or real insights, simply isn’t worth doing.

PR has long focused on creating and conveying compelling stories, initially via the media and now via a multiplicity of tactics and channels. The long term-commitment to ‘banging the drum’ about an issue is also at PR’s heart and is vital to making an impact in a world drowning in information.

As marketing managers continue to streamline and seek increased value from their budgets, we are seeing a clear shift towards integration of content strategies and a desire for a truly joined up approach to how ideas are presented to the world.

With compelling ideas at a premium, it’s increasingly likely that PR will be positioned not on the fringes, but at the centre of truly effective content marketing campaigns.


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