I have worked in the PR and marketing industry for many years. When I started there were two ways businesses could gain publicity, advertising and PR.
Today the world is very different not just because we now have social media, but also because some businesses prefer to use only PR which is a good idea, people relate to a good PR story. At TopicUK and Yorkshire Businesswoman, we love to read a good PR story. What is also different is because of this, companies are not spending on advertising like they used to.
Clients I worked with back in the late 80s had budgets for advertising and budgets for PR which worked very well. Their media buyer booked space in relevant publications and their PR manager sent out newsworthy press releases. Publications did give favour to press releases received from businesses who also spent money with them, everyone was happy, the company paid for great promotion, PR’s had their money for the work they did, and publications received money for the work they did.
Things are now different. Companies rarely pay for advertising, preferring to put all their budget into PR. Nothing wrong with that you might say. The problem is many PR companies don’t factor in a budget for the publications they are asking for space in. Like previous, they expect to have press releases published for free, but where does that leave the publications? Who pays them for their time placing stories online, who pays for their staff, who pays for their web hosting and if printed, their print bill? It seems the only winners are the companies who have reduced their advertising budgets but expect the same media coverage, or cancelled it altogether and the PR companies who should be charging extra, factoring in so they can pay for some of the space they want.
It’s because of this that many publications have closed their doors which is such a shame, there is enough business for everyone. At TopicUK we are lucky that we have some great partners, some who have been with us for many years, and a lot of them are experienced PR companies who understand how important an issue this is. These PR companies have all their client’s press releases published and can confidently tell their clients they can guarantee space for them. This helps when they pitch for new business.
Social media is also a great platform but remember you are sending out your message to the world, potential for millions of people to read your tweet, but in the few seconds they see it on the feed, how many actually engage with you? I read a survey recently that said you had to have 300,000 followers at least to have three people actually read your tweet and potentially engage with you.
The last year has been difficult for everyone, by pulling together, working together and understanding the industry, businesses will bounce back and be stronger.