By Danielle Padilla
Let’s just say it — people don’t know what PR professionals do. PR practitioners often hear misconceptions like “It’s just social media, right?” or “You just make sure journalists write stories about your client.” The answer is yes, and no.
There are so many more layers to a PR person’s job than what is listed above. This profession requires skills that may seem simple to someone not in the field, but actually require years of experience to perfect. Skills like writing, media relations, graphic design, digital marketing, social media analytics, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and many more traits and acronyms. It’s important to elaborate on these responsibilities because this will help individuals/companies understand when to leverage owned media and when to rely on media outreach.
With the growing importance of owned media — which includes social media channels, company websites, and blogs to name a few — the assumption might be that the role of media professionals will become obsolete. Following this theory, if a company devotes more time to owned media and ignores the other types, they will still be successful, right? The answer to this question is no, they won’t.
If one thinks about the reasons why companies hire PR professionals, it’s not because no one else has the credentials for the job. The reason is because there’s no one within the company who possess the same level of quality and credibility needed to do the work of media professionals.
For example, most people can write a blog post or send a tweet. However, not everyone can create an engaging and high quality piece of content that can effectively communicate with a company’s audiences. Also, not everyone can create the same strategic and data-driven digital campaigns that trained professionals can do. For this reason, it is important not to overlook the role PR practitioners play in disseminating messages for and from a company.
Additionally, PR professionals do more than control the messages a company puts out, they also do the vital job of connecting with journalists through media outreach techniques. Since PR practitioners have an extensive background in writing and strategic communications, this makes them the ideal candidates to be the bridge between a company and the media. Due to this unique position, a PR person’s role in a company is not one that can be easily replaced with the use of owned media.