Content and community are both vital and inseparable, for both clients and agencies. Public relations professionals’ skills are perfectly tailored to understand and leverage this reality for the benefit of their respective organizations and agencies. Rather than comprising a department distinct from advertising, PR pros should create the branding glue that pervades all departments and messages about and disseminating from an agency.
The knowledge and skills that these pros, in particular, develop are essentials to comprehensive and influential brand development. In a world of IMC, PR should no longer act as a distinct department like Research, Account Services, or Creative. Agencies cannot compartmentalize their services in a world that, with the arrival of the Digital Age, is no longer compartmentalized. The function of public relations, the creation and dissemination of messages relevant to all of an organization’s publics, is relevant to an agency’s own operations in addition to the campaigns it creates for its clients.
As Paul Roetzer more eloquently declares in The Marketing Agency Blueprint, PR pros “build relationships and enhance communications with audiences,” the two basic tenets of social media engagement. Furthermore, after accepting the notion that “content is king,” Roetzer argues that “content marketing requires strong technical and creative writing skills, business acumen, marketing savvy, and strategic thinking. Again, a perfect fit for the capabilities of top PR professionals.”
Agencies can no longer afford to utilize the knowledge of their public relations specialists on a random basis. These professionals should be present in every meeting, whether internal or external. These are the employees who recognize the strength and implications of any message, but they are also acutely aware of the congruency between a message and the image or reputation for which a brand, including an agency, may be striving. In an industry demanding content and inbound marketing, public relations professionals are the individuals most equipped to oversee and guide message creation of any kind.
Furthermore, because these professionals must know and understand an organization’s various publics, or audiences, they are ideal for managing the many types of relationships agencies should and do establish. These professionals know the audiences, and they know what messages can most resonate with those audiences. They already (often) play an integral role in managing organizations’ communities.
Because of their training, public relations professionals are qualified to successfully and effectively act as privy council to both the “King” and “Queen” of strategic communication efforts − content and community, respectively. PR pros are some of the industry’s most prepared members to comprehend and implement the strategies necessary to grow agencies to their ideal size and functionality as integral pieces of the greater industry.