The new age of PR integration

September 16, 2014

I am excited. My heart is racing; palms sweating.

I just hung up with an incredible prospective client that’s growing like mad. Added 30 people last month alone; sells big deals to major corporate players. Has 10 highly respected subject matter experts on staff, and holds a unique and distinct competitive advantage. And they are doing it with NO formalized marketing or public relations program in place.

 Sure, they dabble. Issuing a white paper, here. Distributing a press release, there. Maybe speaking at a conference or two. But it’s pure virgin ground when it comes to systematically telling their story — a green field of unexplored opportunities. Rare, indeed. A non-start up unencumbered by the marketing blunders and failure of the past. They present a single challenge: Present to the CEO and tell him why PR?

I tell them they’re totally mistaken. It’s not about PR at this point. It’s about integration. They are the outlier. That rare opportunity to build it right from the beginning by integrating each of their channels, recycling, re-purposing, and reusing content to tell and drive their narrative across all domains, including media relations, blogging, social media, dynamic content, video, conferences, awards, and lead generation.  It’s not about one or the other. It’s about integration. The ability to create and control their own communications universe, develop and liberate content, commentary and expertise in a way that speaks to micro-audiences, compels them to raise their hands to learn more, to connect and engage.

I tell them, five years ago, my presentation would have been based on the Hope Theory of Public Relations. We all know it. You build a message, and hope others, including the media, will be receptive. You hope they cover the company or content. You hope their audience consumes it. You hope there’s response and you hope it’s enough to earn an ROI or satisfy a CMO or CEO enough to renew your contract or keep your internal contact employed.

But today, the Hope Theory of Public Relations has been replaced with integrated communications. Where thought leadership is crafted and groomed, distributed through integrated channels both owned, and borrowed by the enterprise. It’s where a blog post triggers media coverage that prompts a click to connect on a social channel. An audience created from thin air and results that are measurable, track-able and ready to be monetized. It’s a new era for client and firm alike. One where results aren’t measured in column inches, circulation, shares, Likes, or follows. But rather in real engagement — as a lever in the sales process.

So I can’t wait to meet. Sit down and educate. Inform and enlighten and evangelize. It’s all about integration, always easiest to implement from the ground up.  And an immeasurably better way to drive client value for those like me!

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