As a marketer with an engineering and analytic background I have always been very critic about the capability of the Public Relation function to provide proper support to business operations and demonstrate its impact with relevant metrics.
I was clearly wrong with the first argument – PR does provide a huge push to businesses if properly run. Think at Influencer marketing, just to mention one basic example. On the other side, I still don’t think I was wrong with the second point: relevant measurement.
Until Content Marketing came.
Without generalizing too much Public Relations faces three main issues today in large B2B enterprises: 1) a content-related issue, 2) a functional integration issue and 3) a measurement issue. First, B2B companies still keep pushing products and features-focused news releases, in a continuous effort that is totally isolated and detached from the company’s content model and plans (assuming that a content plan is in place). The problem is that many PR firms and companies still haven’t adapted their approach to modern times and still rely on the same format and distribution techniques used years ago, which are far less effective today. Secondly, the PR function is typically separated from other marketing domains and definitely detached from the content marketing function and doesn’t benefit from the synergies that a combined PR, content and social media approach could generate. Finally, PR has gotten a bad reputation at times because PR professionals have historically relied on soft metrics (or not relied on metrics at all) such as placements and impressions to create the perception of value. They have failed to connect actions to outcomes, and demonstrate how PR activities impact key performance indicators (KPIs) that are relevant to the business.