While I was not able to attend the Inbound Marketing Summit this year, I soon heard about Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan’s indictment of the PR industry. Perhaps sensing a need to elaborate on his main points, Brian wrote a follow-up post today that despite its provocative title is thoughtful and largely spot-on. Please go have a look. Then come back, cuz this post is a response to Brian’s thoughts on how the PR industry needs to evolve.
“Bad PR” (spam) is dying. Thank god. Most good firms are fast evolving towards the services Brian mentions, e.g., Social Media training, monitoring and idea-spreading … Marketing Strategy … SEO, and so on. There’s little in Brian’s post that will come as a shock to any progressive PR agency.
Meanwhile, knowing Brian as a I do, I was not all that surprised to find him basically ignoring the importance of the mainstream media. He is, in my opinion, far too quick to discount the role of mainstream media relations (as discussed in-depth in an earlier post: Mainstream Media Relations: More Important Than Ever). Brian is a very savvy, cutting-edge kind of guy who is laser-focused on online lead generation. There is a softer side to that science that he’s simply uninterested in — but that doesn’t make it irrelevant.
There is also simply so much that goes on behind-the-scenes at all good PR agencies that is most definitely of-value yet never seen in the outside world. While I applaud Brian’s focus on expanding the size of the funnel (lead dev), there are more nuanced activities that go on: positioning, messaging, crisis communications, relationship-building, training, etc. Such activities minght only offer a tangential or indirect impact on lead development, but, they are still critically important to companies of all sizes.
In any event I am tired of “PR is dead” memes. It’s played out. Linkbait.
At SHIFT we are too busy working with our faces forward into the wind to sweat about the waning days of Old-School Thinking. The fate of the PR industry does not define me, my agency, nor our fate.
Posted on: October 8, 2009 at 12:28 pm By Todd Defren